Anger as Grantham firm fells trees on land behind homes
Residents are furious after a company cut down mature trees which had acted as a screen between their homes and an industrial estate.
People living in houses on Second Avenue, Grantham, which back on to the site occupied by Mars Recovery, are upset by the sudden clearance of the trees and also fear that this may mean the firm wants to expand its operations and store broken vehicles next to their homes.
Kim Ridgeway, who owns one of the houses with her partner, Gareth Bowles, said: “MARS allege that they are ‘clearing and maintaining the land’, however as far as we the residents are concerned, this is clearly not the case.
“The company currently have enough space for approximately 25 vehicles, but if they were to extend the car compound into the buffer land then this would allow them a further 40-plus vehicles. These vehicles have been involved in road traffic accidents and are mostly write-offs – hence could be leaking many noxious/toxic substances.”
She added: “It’s not my idea of ‘maintenence’.”
Mr Bowles said: “They have destroyed a very pleasant piece of land that was also a screening device and it has upset people around here. We are certainly not going to bow down to them. We will fight them on this.”
The strip of land which has been cleared has had rubble dumped on it and there are remains of the trees. The company has also placed a Portakabin at one end of the strip of land.
The residents and the company have disputed ownership of the land. The residents said they believe the company only has rights to a strip of the land a few metres wide and have marked those out with orange fencing. MARS Recovery says it has ownership of the land.
A spokesman for MARS Recovery said: “This has been referred to the local council. We are currently waiting to hear back from them regarding this and have no further information at this time.”
Sylvia Bland, business manager for development management and implementation at SKDC, said the district council owned the site originally, together with other properties on the Alma Park estate, but sold the site to developers in the 1970s, who subsequently sold it on. She said it is now owned by MARS Recovery director Mr Hammond.
The business recovers vehicles from accidents or from police-related incidents.
SKDC granted planning permission in 2016 for the conversion of part of the existing workshop to a vehicle accident repair centre, including paint spraying and mixing booth extensions and provisions for customer car parking.
The site comprises a workshop building, car parking and hardstanding area.
The district council said: “A portion of the site adjoining the residential properties was overgrown with vegetation. This is separated by an existing timber fence along the boundary.
“In the last couple of weeks Mr Hammond arranged for the clearance of the overgrown vegetation. This action does not require planning permission.
“Any engineering operation to level the land or for the construction of a hard surface on the cleared area is not covered by the 2016 planning permission and will require a new application. Mr Hammond is aware that a further planning application is required.”