Mauricewood house plan in ‘direct conflict’ with enforcement action

Friday May 17th 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A bid to build a new house just yards from the home of the real Sherlock Holmes has been rejected because the land is at the centre of a criminal investigation.

The proposals for the home on Mauricewood Road, Penicuik, come into ‘direct conflict’ with enforcement action being taken in relation to trees which were allegedly felled without permission on the land.

The site lies 160m from Midlothian’s Mauricewood House, which was owned by Edinburgh surgeon Dr Joseph Bell, whose deductive powers inspired author Arthur Conan-Doyle to create the fictional detective Holmes.

A report by planning officers into the proposals for a house on the land said Scottish Forestry and the procurator fiscal were ‘taking forward’ prosecution in regard to the removal of trees on the site which borders ancient woodlands.

They said: “Unauthorised felling took place on the site in 2019, within the area with the majority of tree cover within the boundary being felled and removed from site without the submission or approval of a work to tree application.

“The unauthorised felling is subject to ongoing enforcement investigation and action by Scottish Forestry. In the interim period, the site has begun to revegetate but no restocking direction has yet been ordered, and no replacement planting has yet taken place.

“There is therefore a direct conflict between the proposal and the enforcement action being taken by Scottish Forestry. Allowing the erection of a dwelling on this site would not be in compliance with national and local policy commitments to protect native woodland from deforestation, and would prevent any future restocking of the site with woodland planting that could be required as part of enforcement, or that could take place by natural regeneration of the site as woodland.

“The development would therefore lead to an unacceptable loss of site identified as semi natural ancient woodland. The proposed development could also result in the loss of further existing mature trees that remain on site, would disrupt the regenerating ecological value of the site.”

Planners refused permission for the house which received no public objections.

This is the third article in the last four weeks that Midlothian View has published recently concerning illegal damage to trees, see also Investigation into tree felling launched in Musselburgh and Concern after trees in Newbattle fed ‘weedkiller’

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