A ROW has erupted after historic trees were illegally felled in Barrhead.

Some of the trees, off Grahamston Road, were chopped down and removed, despite being protected by a Tree Preservation Order. Dozens more were cut back, ready to be felled.

Councillor Danny Devlin, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor as an Independent, said the trees used to lead to the old Blackbyres Farm and were at least 150 years old, with legal protection in place since 1964.

He added: “It’s a massive loss to the community. It’s part of Barrhead’s history and it’s a beautiful walk.”

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The trees border the new Bellway Homes Rosemont Park development but the homebuilder has denied any responsibility.

A spokesman told the Barrhead News: “The tree felling was not done or authorised by Bellway, although we are aware of the matter, having been informed by residents.

“We understand the trees were felled by a contractor working for a resident on the estate.”

A resident of Grahamston Park, bordering the trees, confronted the tree surgeon who brought down the oaks.

The neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I asked if he was authorised by East Renfrewshire Council to carry out this work and he informed me it was the residents of Rosemont Park, which backs onto the other side of the right of way, who asked for the trees to be felled, as they were blocking the sunshine getting into their back gardens.

“I also asked him to stop work until it was checked but he was taking his client’s word for it and just went ahead and felled the trees, two of which were really big, mature trees which must have taken hundreds of years to grow.

“In fact, when one came down, it shook our houses.”

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The neighbour added: “Those were beautiful, well-established trees which were beginning to fill out with this year’s leaves and were lovely to look out at.

“Now we just have a big empty space.”

Council officials confirmed they are investigating.

The maximum fine that can be imposed for cutting down the trees is £20,000.

A council spokesman said: “Council staff have visited the location and investigations are ongoing to determine if enforcement action is required.

"The area of land between Grahamston Park and the new residential development by Bellway Homes, off Blackbyres Road, is covered by a Tree Preservation Order and no application to seek approval for carrying out works has been submitted.”