THE developer of a new woodland estate, which was described as “vandalistic” by locals, has blasted Wiltshire Council’s decision to turn it down.

Peter Hunt, chief executive of PNH Properties, labelled the refusal as “disgraceful”.

His company’s plans, for 13 eco-friendly homes in East Harnham, offered “100 per cent affordable homes for Salisbury, which the city desperately needs”.

However, as reported, the plans, off Bishops Drive, were not well received by neighbours, who banded together to fight the scheme.

Their main objection came from the need to fell at least 130 TPO protected trees to make room for the homes, which was labelled as a “vandalistic approach”.

This was something seconded by council planners, who cited the felling of the trees as two of their six main reasons for objection.

However, Mr Hunt claims those Redwood Cedar trees – which are covered by a blanket protection order – are all either “dead, dying, or diseased”, a view which was backed by experts, he adds.

“We purchased the woodland 12 years ago, because part of it was dead, or dying, so we thought ‘let’s put some affordable housing in here’,” Mr Hunt told the Journal.

“However, at the time, the planners at Wiltshire Council asked us to wait, saying that if we leave the woodland, it will regenerate.

“So we left it, and 12 years later the woodland has got even worse. We then put in these new plans, with the added offer of 100 per cent affordable homes for Salisbury, which the city desperately needs.

“We also offered to make the houses ‘eco-homes’ with ‘living roofs’ in place of the dead trees, as well as to set up a management plan for the rest of the woodland.”

However, this proposal was rebuffed by council planners at the end of last month. This was the latest in a long line of applications to be refused for the site over a three-decade period.

Mr Hunt added: “We were just trying to be the good guys.

“Are 13 affordable homes less important than tress which are dead, dying, or diseased?”

The developer has confirmed the decision will be appealed.

Wiltshire Council did not wish to comment further on the matter, but instead referred to its objection, which read: “It is considered the proposal would result in broader adverse ecosystem impacts/services: The woodland contributes more than just biodiversity, providing, eg. a carbon sink within the trees and soil.”