Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Council urged to uphold its own planning rules after Perthshire beauty spot ‘bulldozed’

Residents living around Balhomie Wood, by the River Tay, are urging the local authority to act on planning breaches and get tough with developers.

Balhomie Wood campaigner Michael Foreman at a metal gate surrounded by trees.
Michael Foreman wants protection for Balhomie Wood. Image: DC Thomson.

Residents living next to a stretch of the River Tay have launched a petition calling on Perth and Kinross Council to enforce its own planning rules.

The group say they have been let down by the local authority after a 300-metre track was bulldozed across Balhomie Wood, near Cargill, in breach of planning regulations.

The residents say Perth and Kinross Council ruled it was “not in the public interest” to pursue the issue last summer – and they fear subsequent breaches have now taken place.

Spokesman Michael Foreman says he and his neighbours want the local authority to review the previous decision and to make clear that unauthorised development will not be tolerated.

Michael Foreman and George Logan pictured by the River Tay.
Michael Foreman and neighbour George Logan are calling for action at Balhomie Wood. Image; DC Thomson.

“If action had been taken last year we might not have had this issue now,” he says.

“The council didn’t force anyone to stop then, and that has given this developer the green light to go on.”

Balhomie Wood was wildlife haven

The land was formerly part of the Balhomie estate, which was broken up some years ago.

Mr Foreman lives in Balhomie House and the area in question was sold to a developer, Timothy Coupe, last year.

Balhomie House.
The wood was once part of the Balhomie House estate.

Mr Foreman says Balhomie Wood had been an important habitat for wildlife, such as deer, foxes and red squirrels, for hundreds of years.

Otters, beavers, ducks, swans and other animals can be found on the nearby riverbank and the river itself is famous for salmon.

Perth and Kinross Council has said it is considering part of the area for a Local Nature Conservation Site.

This would provide protection to the greater butterfly orchids which grow there.

close up of white greater butterfly orchid.
A greater butterfly orchid.

However, since the initial track was cleared with heavy machinery, Mr Foreman says trees have been felled and wildflowers, such as bluebells, have been destroyed.

Balhomie Wood a symptom of wider issue

The petition’s supporting statement says failing to pursue the original breach at Balhomie Wood was “a serious mistake”.

“If the planning department had pursued the case and insisted that the land be restored to its original state, the owner would not have been able to continue his destruction of the site,” it goes on.

“We now have to make a stand to reverse the damage that has been done and allow the land to revert to its original state.”

Rough track through Balhomie Wood.
A rough track cut through Balhomie wood. Image: Michael Foreman.

Another neighbour George Logan says developers need to know they can’t take the law into their own hands.

“This isn’t just an issue for us,” he said.

“The council doesn’t seem to have any control.

“Is this the way planning works now? Can people just get away with whatever they want?

“What we had here was a wildlife haven and to see it trashed before our eyes while the council stands by is a bit much.”

Petition noted

The Courier approached Mr Coupe, but he did not respond to a request for comment.

“A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “The council notes the petition in question regarding Balhomie Wood.

“We are content that the works to date do not require planning enforcement intervention.

“Any disturbance to wildlife is protected under separate legislation.”