Developer punished again for illegally harvesting timber

Developer punished again for illegally harvesting timber

A property developer who was fined over £65,000 last month for cutting down hundreds of protected oak trees was fined again this month for harming additional trees.

Property developer James Barney, 35, (pictured) was fined £1,000 on Tuesday after he was caught felling timber without a licence

James Barney, age 35, was fined £1,000 on Tuesday for cutting down trees without a permit.

Barney, from Hampshire, intended to construct two vacation rentals on the freshly acquired parcel of land.

Neighbors who were awakened by the noise of a digger and construction activities cutting down oak trees that were protected by a Tree Preservation Order opposed him vehemently (TPO).

In April of last year, he pled guilty to violating tree protection standards and was sentenced to pay £68,031 in fines and expenses after being forced to do so.He was ordered last month to pay £68,031 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to breaching tree preservation regulations over the offence in April last year. Pictured: Trees cut down at Scoreys Copse on Botley Road, Horton Heath

Now, Barney has been returned to the same court and fined after admitting to destroying between ten and twenty trees in March of 2020.

The 35-year-old real estate entrepreneur James Barney (pictured) was fined £1,000 on Tuesday for illegally destroying trees.

In April of last year, he pled guilty to violating tree protection standards and was sentenced to pay £68,031 in fines and expenses after being forced to do so. Pictured: Horton Heath trees felled at Scoreys Copse on Botley Road

In September, the Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that Barney, who had “access to a vast sea of finance,” intended to construct two vacation rentals on the recently acquired tract of property.

The developer arrived at the site with a crew and a digger to cut down 53 protected oak trees, despite the objections of councillors and neighbors.

Now, Barney has been hauled back to the same court and fined further after he admitted destroying between ten and 20 trees in March 2020. Pictured: Trees cut down at Scoreys Copse on Botley Road, Horton Heath

The oaks, for which a TPO had been issued, were located in Scoreys Copse, Horton Heath.

The injunction prohibited cutting, damaging, or destroying the trees without the express authorization of the local planning authority.

Barney, who lives in a £2.3 million home with his parents in neighbouring Bursledon, claimed he was unaware of the TPO when he cut down the trees and ‘didn’t trust’ anyone who informed him otherwise.

After being tried under the Town & Country Planning Act of 1990 and pleaded guilty to violating tree protection requirements, he was fined £50,000 last month.

He was sentenced to pay Eastleigh Borough Council’s legal fees of £17,841 plus a victim surcharge of £190, for a total of £68,031.

Eastleigh Borough Council also issued him a tree replacement notice, requiring him to plant 650 new trees to replace the ones he uprooted.

Now, Barney has been returned to the same court and fined after admitting to destroying between ten and twenty trees in March of 2020.

Pictured are felled trees in Scoreys Copse on Botley Road in Horton Heath.

Barney admitted on Tuesday in the same court that he destroyed between 10 and twenty trees in March 2020.

The destruction apparently occurred weeks before he submitted a planning application to construct vacation lets on a £27,500 property in Durley.

Alistair Haggerty, the prosecutor, stated that Winchester City Council rejected the holiday lets idea and a second attempt to obtain approval was equally unsuccessful.

He continued, “Numerous individuals lodged objections about the tree cutting.” The forest cannot be rapidly or readily replaced.

John Fitzsimmons, in mitigation, stated that Barney did not gain monetarily because his applications to construct vacation rentals were denied.

However, District Judge Peter Greenfield concluded that the job was performed “obviously for profit” and ordered him to pay an additional £300 in court costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

»Developer punished again for illegally harvesting timber«

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