A HELENSBURGH resident has failed in his bid to reduce the height of trees in a major conservation area of the town.

Patrick Mundie sought to have an 88-metre section of Leylandii trees, each about five metres high and also containing two birch trees, trimmed in height at 4 Kennedy Drive.

Mr Mundie appealed to the Scottish Government after his application to Argyll and Bute Council for a ‘high hedge notice’ was refused.

But the government’s department for planning and environmental appeals (DPEA) rejected his bid to have the decision overturned.

The trees are at Cuilvona, next to Mr Mundie’s property, The Paddock, on Kennedy Drive, which are both located near to The Hill House. Cuilvona is a category B listed building.

A report by Angus Gilmour, the council’s head of planning, housing and regulatory services, said: “It was alleged the tree heights exceeded the limit of two metres by reaching a height of over five metres resulting in the overshadowing and damp conditions to the western side of the applicant’s property.

“The applicant confirmed the hedge blocks sunlight and creates damp to the building.

"The applicant stated they contacted the owners of the hedge to address these issues but no suitable outcome was agreed.

“The council considered the owner of the hedge should not take any action in this instance as the reduction in height would effectively leave a visually prominent long row of tree stumps.

“In addition the removal of the two mature birch trees would be detrimental to the setting of the listed building and to the conservation area.

“The windows of the applicant’s property, located five metres away from the hedge, were a sufficient distance away to still allow daylight into the rooms.

"In addition there are several gaps within the total length of the hedge, reducing its massing.

“The issue of dampness to the applicant’s property is a civil matter and not one covered by planning legislation.”

Mr Gilmour added that the council had considered all relevant factors and recommended that Mr Mundie’s application for a high hedge notice be refused.

The decision was reported to last month’s meeting of the planning, protective services and licensing committee.

Mr Gilmour said: “The [Scottish Government] reporter found that the height of the hedge would contribute to some shading, but that this would be for a limited period towards the end of the day.

“Given the distance between the windows and the hedge, and the orientation of the property, he concluded that the hedge does not result in a significant reduction in light levels entering the windows on the western side of the property.

“During his site inspection he could see no obvious signs of damp on the face of the west side of the property, or on the ground between the property and the hedge, or adjacent to the hedge.

“Whilst it was accepted that the wooden parts of the balcony may have suffered from rot, the balcony is located in an exposed position, facing the prevailing winds and the sea.”