ONE of Britain’s biggest home builders has apologised for a second time after materials from a major housing development in Helensburgh were found in a local nature reserve nearby.

Persimmon Homes issued the apology after images were sent to the Advertiser showing polystyrene from the company’s Duchess Gait development within the bounds of the Duchess Wood nature reserve next door.

The incident follows claims that soil from the development site had been dumped within the Duchess Wood before Christmas.

READ MORE: Home builder says sorry over 'waste' reports in Helensburgh wood

Helensburgh resident Audrey Baird, from the Argyll and Bute Health and Wellbeing Network, who made the latest discovery, said: “Dozens of huge slabs of polystyrene have been dumped next to the fences, at the boundary with the Wood, and are starting to break up. We saw polystyrene up to five metres into the Nature Reserve and in the burns in the Wood.

“Volunteers work tirelessly to try to keep the wood free of litter and pollution to provide a safe and healthy environment for visitors and wildlife.

“Health and wellbeing grants have been provided to support beach cleaning and litter picking efforts in the area because the insidious and negative impact on people’s wellbeing of living in polluted and littered areas is now well documented and recognised.”

Matt Offord, the chair of the Friends of Duchess Wood, told the Advertiser: “The Friends are extremely disappointed to hear of yet more damage to the Local Nature Reserve, allegedly by Persimmon who are currently under investigation for dumping in the woods a month or so ago.

“The latest reports of large amounts of polystyrene in the woods, which has migrated there from the Persimmon site, is extremely concerning and shows no regard for the woods as a community asset or for the volunteers who work there to keep the area pristine for the people of Helensburgh to enjoy and for the wildlife to live safely in.”

Helensburgh’s MSP Jackie Baillie, who was also sent the images of the polystyrene in the wood, added: “It is disappointing that Persimmon Homes is not taking due care over their site and polystyrene rubbish is having a negative impact on Duchess Wood.

“Our open spaces are important and I would urge Persimmon to tidy the site and the woods immediately and ensure that attention and care is taken with this in the future.”

Doug Law, managing director at Persimmon Homes West Scotland, confirmed: “We apologise for any small pieces of polystyrene that have blown from our site into the surrounding woodland.

“The material has been removed and the area will be monitored daily.

“A permanent fence will be erected in the next few weeks to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Persimmon was granted permission in December 2017 to build 76 new homes on the site of the former Dobbies garden centre at Ardencaple.

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee approved the company’s plans despite receiving more than 80 objections from local residents and community groups – many highlighting that the site had been earmarked for a maximum of 60 homes in the authority’s latest local development plan.

READ MORE: Helensburgh set for 76 new homes as Persimmon plans get green light

Norman Muir, the convener of Helensburgh Community Council, told the Advertiser he had visited the area where the polystyrene was found on Sunday afternoon, and discovered that it had been cleared up.

Mr Muir said “It appears that any stuff blown out of the Persimmon perimeter had been collected up.

“I must say that Persimmon reacted quickly to the dumping issue some weeks ago and cleared the site so maybe some credit is due to them for their reaction.”

The company is currently advertising properties with four and five bedrooms for sale at the development, with a starting price of £274,995.

The company’s website says its 'future range' at Duchess Gait includes properties with three and six bedrooms, but states that two-bedroom homes at the development have sold out.