Residents of Harrogate’s Duchy estate have expressed concern that a home owner could benefit from illegally felling trees.
Jason Shaw famously bought the vast 40-room Bomanji house, once owned by the town’s wealthiest family, a year ago.
The sale attracted international media attention after it emerged the house - complete with luxury artefacts - had stood frozen in time since the 1920s.
At the time he vowed to restore the mansion to its former glory but in July this year he was fined £24,000 by magistrates after felling 13 trees on land which he wanted to build two new houses on.
Later that month an application for two detached houses was submitted under the name Anthony Gayden. A unilateral undertaking dated August 13 confirms that Mr Shaw was still the owner, though his architect said the property has been sold subject to conditions.
Now neighbouring residents say there is growing ‘ill-feeling’ in the area. On behalf of the Duchy Residents Association, Rebecca Oliver said: “The owner has essentially benefited from the removal of the trees which has given rise to a great deal of ill-feeling towards any development on this site from residents and neighbours. If the large trees had not been removed, the site would not have been viable for two large detached houses such as those proposed.”
Duchy estate resident Rosemary Carnaghan added: “I don’t believe two houses is right for the site. It would be benefiting from felling the trees, this is something that I think planning officers have got to look at seriously. My fear is he is spoiling what should be a very nice plot.”
Architect Nick Silcock said: “The plans submitted do not impact upon Tree Protection Order (TPO) protected trees with the exception of some poor quality trees. Basically that covers just the trees on the perimeter of the site and those close to Pineheath house. There is a provisional TPO on trees which would be affected by this planning application, however these trees are saplings.
“The council really need to demonstrate that these trees have an amenity value but as they are saplings at the moment they do not contribute to the setting of the conservation area.
He added: “It is proposed to relocate the saplings and to include 50 per cent more trees on the site which will add to the overall quality and scenery of the area.”
A council spokesman said: “As in every case, the planning application will be determined on its merits following a full assessment and existing trees on the site will form an important consideration in this case.
“Following the prosecution of the owner of 43 Rutland Drive he was instructed by the council to plant eight replacement trees as close to the felled trees as possible. A TPO has now been made for these replacement trees, making it a criminal offence to cut down, lop, top or uproot without consent.”