A TREE Preservation Order (TPO) has been served to protect native and ancient woodland in a Loch Lomondside village after unauthorised work was carried out during lockdown.

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority has issued the TPO in response to a number of trees being felled without permission near Ben Cruach Lodge in Tarbet.

It is believed that the home belongs to David Moulsdale, who owns Moulsdale Properties, the company behind proposals for a major development in Tarbet consisting of a village square and erection of a tourism and mixed use development, incorporating accommodation, retail, food and drink uses.

A 'pre-application consultation' notice was lodged last year however a formal planning application has yet to be received by the National Park Authority.

Action has now been taken by the authority to review unauthorised works to create a "significantly altered new access route" off the A82.

Stuart Mearns, director of planning and rural development at the National Park Authority, said: “We have taken this action because significant unauthorised felling and woodland removal has recently taken place at this property and while further information and reassurance has been sought from the owner on the remaining woodland, this has not been provided. We therefore feel that remaining native and ancient woodland could be at risk from further felling.

“This woodland contributes to the visual amenity and the woodland habitat connectivity of Tarbet and the wider Loch Lomond area. Unauthorised loss of woodland cover in this area would result in fragmentation of the woodland habitat and would also have a negative impact on the visual amenity for residents and visitors.

“As the planning authority, we have also required the owner to submit an application for the unauthorised works to create a significantly altered access off the A82. The application has been received and validated and will now be assessed under the standard planning procedure to determine whether permission should be granted.

“The National Park Authority has been leading the investigation into the unauthorised works and is working closely with Scottish Forestry and Transport Scotland.”

National Park bosses say they were tipped off by a member of the public about the unauthorised works and tree felling and they carried out site visits during an ongoing investigation.

The application for the works is for retrospective permission for the fence and gates and for the permanent formation of an enlarged bellmouth entrance, and engineering works to form a new driveway, wall and gates.

Scottish Forestry issued a temporary 'stop notice' in May requiring all tree felling works to cease.

The planning application process will determine whether the works are acceptable or not and if permission should be granted or refused. The park authority added: "Given interest locally from residents it provides the opportunity for the information provided by the owner to be accessible as well as formal comments to be submitted."

Commenting on the proposals for the tourism development, a spokesperson for Moulsdale Properties said last August: "David Moulsdale, owner of Moulsdale Properties, has had a home in Tarbet for over 20 years and has many close connections with the area.

“With his close affiliation to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, any development undertaken by Mr Moulsdale would be done so sensitively and in keeping with the heritage and culture of the much loved area.

“Moulsdale Properties will work in close partnership with the National Park and local residents will be consulted to ensure that any development will only serve to benefit the community.

“The plans are at a very early stage but we intend to be transparent throughout the process.”