BASINGSTOKE’S MP has lodged strong objections to a planning application on a site which the landowners previously illegally felled more than 500 trees.

Maria Miller has said that if the application for a gypsy pitch with utility/day-room on land off Dixon Road, in Sherfield-on-Loddon, is granted it would be supporting criminal activity.

The site has been a point of contention since in 2014 when more than 500 trees were illegally felled on the site and the landowners were fined and forced to restock the site.

However, Mrs Miller said this agreement has not been met despite the Forestry Commission issuing a restocking notice, which she says the landowners failed to comply with and a further enforcement notice.

Mrs Miller said: “My constituents and I remain very concerned about the way in which the landowners have been able to flout the law in this way, and believe that granting any form of planning consent for residential use would in essence be condoning the illegal activity that has taken place, and would give a financial benefit to those who have clearly already been found to have broken the law in respect of this land.”

“The owners of the Dixon Road site have been found guilty in court of illegally felling hundreds of trees and have been heavily fined for their failure to comply with the order to replant. It can’t be right to condone this criminal activity by enabling the landowners to benefit financially by changing the use of land to residential.”

The application has been submitted to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council by GreenPlanning Studio, acting on behalf of the landowner.

The application is due to be decided on by August 28.

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