DEVELOPERS have come under fire for jumping the gun by chopping down a row of trees.
Trees and hedgerows along the foreshore of Fareham Creek on the Cams Estate have been removed to make way for a restaurant being built in the style of the old Cams Tidal Mill which used to stand on the site.
Permission was granted for the controversial plans by Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee last April.
As a result angry residents and local civic groups made a failed bid to get it called in by the Secretary of State.
Despite being granted permission, developers were given a list of 28 conditions, including satisfying environmental matters, which needed to be met by the council before work could start.
It appears the trees have been felled before those conditions have been checked off by the council.
Ward councillor and chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Nick Walker, said action could be taken against the developer.
He said: ‘It would appear they’ve jumped the gun. It’s a matter which is being looked into by the council.
‘It’s a serious breach. The council may take the view they were going to do this anyway and grant retrospective permission.
‘But some members may want to punish them and push to sue them.
‘This always was a controversial application as it wasn’t in the local plan and that’s why we attached so many conditions to it.’
Paul Cope from the Fareham Society added: ‘I’m very angry. The trees could be reinstated.
‘It looks as if they’ve cut down a lot more than was originally intended.
‘Everybody who’s seen it is horrified about what they’ve done.
‘It’s been razed to the ground.’
Mr Cope was concerned about the birds that are known to use the site.
‘Ornithologically speaking, it’s a disaster,’ he added. ‘It’s sheer vandalism.’
Stella Bell, of Cornaway Lane, Portchester, said: ‘This is the chance for the councillors to take account of the people who elected them by taking enforcement action against this unruly developer and preventing further pre-emptive operations.’
Developer Strand Harbour Developments, based at neighbouring Heaton House on the Cams hall Estate, refused to comment.