A Buckinghamshire building company that cut down trees in an ancient woodland by the M25 have been ordered to restore the site.

Gladwins Storage Ltd runs a business from Gladwins Wood next to the M25 near junction 16 with the M40 in between Denham and Gerrards Cross.

For many years, the firm has operated a storage yard beside the motorway in the wood, which sits within the green belt and is protected by a tree preservation order (TPO).

The council had agreed that two small areas of the site could be used for the stationing of containers, vehicles, builder’s materials and waste.

However, the current site is ‘huge and contains dozens if not hundreds of containers as well as compounds for plant hire, builder’s yards and many scaffolding companies’, according to planning inspector Simon Hand.

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He added: “It has expanded massively from the very limited lawful use allowed by the 2013 notice which is still in force.”

Gladwins Storage applied to the council for a certificate of lawful use or development for scaffolding towers in 2022 and then appealed to the planning inspectorate after it was not determined.

The planning inspectorate has now dismissed the appeal and sided with the council, which said it could not give permission for the towers as they conflicted with its 2013 enforcement notice.

In a related decision, the inspectorate also upheld another enforcement notice issued by the council in 2021 and dismissed an appeal against the document.

The notice alleged that waste, materials, scaffolding, HGVs, cranes, tyres and caravans were being stored in the wood without planning permission.

The council ordered that all unauthorised materials be removed from the site and that it be reverted to its former use.

An appeal against the notice was brought by Mr James Turner, who argued that some of the dozens of companies occupying the site had not been served with copies of the notice and that some of the alleged storage activities had not taken place or had since become lawful.

The council said it sent copies to as many of the 57 companies or individuals on a list for the site as it could track down.

Inspector Hand dismissed the appellant’s appeal, saying that the council had attached a copy of the notice to the entrance gates of the site.

He said: “As a lot of the occupiers do not have a tenancy agreement and Mr Turner, by his own admission, has as little to do with the occupiers as possible, I’m not sure that even the Turners know exactly who and where the occupiers are.”

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