Concerned residents in a Helensburgh conservation area have voiced fears over "aggressive" development at a property near their homes.

Planning permission has been lodged for alterations and extensions to Redholm, at 4 West Lennox Drive, which has been met with opposition by neighbours.

Campaigners claim that work already undertaken at Redholm - which is located in the town's Hill House Conservation Area, just a stone's throw from the Hill House itself - is threatening the roots of a historic 175-year-old beech tree.

They also claim work has been ongoing at the property despite planning permission not being decided, and say that council officers issued enforcement notices for work to stop earlier this month.

A total of 23 objections to the planning application had been lodged with Argyll and Bute Council, and published on the authority's website, as this article was written.

G53 Design Ltd, the agent for Redholm's owner, Gail Crawford, declined to comment when approached by the Advertiser.

Neighbour Suzanne Hamilton, who lives in nearby Upper Colquhoun Street, hopes the community can support residents' bid to protect the beech tree from damage.

She said: “My neighbours and I are fully supportive of anyone wishing to invest in the area.

“However to do so in such an aggressive and underhand manner raises alarm bells and we feel it is our duty to protect the environment for future generations. 

“We would welcome the support of the wider Helensburgh community to raise objections in support of our cause to protect this tree.

“The repercussions on the developer of its loss at the moment may be minimal, and it deserves far greater support and acknowledgement.”

Helensburgh Advertiser:

Documents submitted for the renovation at Redholm, which was built in 1901, show a striking two-storey extension proposed to be added the side of the property.

A design and access statement by G53 Design, lodged along with the formal planning application, states: “We propose the removal of the existing low quality extension to the north-west corner of the property.

“Allowing us to radically transform the internal space, opening up the corner of the site to create a large central heart to the new home.

“The scheme seeks to deliver a balanced contemporary interpretation of an extension to Scottish architecture that respects the original guise of the building by modernising, yet not overpowering it.

“To create such a building of this flexibility, a high level of nuanced design in terms of materiality and massing articulation had to be considered.”

However, resident Alistair McLuskey believes the development itself is not in keeping with the character of the conservation area.

He explained: “We are naturally concerned about the historic copper beech tree in Suzanne's garden, given the developer's behaviour to date and the threat to its roots.

“We also believe this proposed development is out of all proportion and just not in character for the Hill House conservation area, which deserves robust protection.

“The council has been responsive, and we appreciate that, but the developer's behaviour is still very much of concern.”

Campaigners claim heavy machinery has already been brought in, with drainage dug on the site, leading to Argyll and Bute Council issuing enforcement notices for work to stop.

Resident David Henderson believes unauthorised work would have started even earlier if residents hadn’t taken their concerns to the council.

He said: “Like many of my fellow local neighbours who have objected to these proposals, I am deeply concerned about the impact these proposals would have on the local conservation area.

“This is an area of international architectural significance, local pride and in bringing tourism to the town.

“I am concerned that the owners have started excavation work on the site and indeed would have started earlier had it not been for residents who acted to prevent machinery entering the property.”

A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council said: “This is a live planning application, due to be considered at [the council's planning, protective services and licensing] committee in August.

"We are aware of current works and are currently investigating.”

The planning application number is 23/00652/PP and further details can be found on Argyll and Bute Council’s website.