COMMUNITY activists have claimed a small victory after tree felling was suspended by a housing developer amid concerns it could disrupt nesting birds.

Around eight police officers were called to the site near Queen Margaret Drive in Glasgow’s west end early yesterday morning after residents staged a second protest over work being carried out by tree surgeons on behalf of Westpoint Homes.

The firm is building 19 luxury flats with underground parking on the site of a disused gym on Fergus Drive, which they say requires the loss of a number of mature trees.

Community activists believe the company may be in breach of bird protection laws by carrying out the tree felling during nesting season, which runs from around March to August and have also claimed the firm does not have the requisite permission.

The RSPB generally recommends that such work is not carried out during the time.

Westpoint say it has all the proper consents in place and that a full assessment of the trees was carried out but said it had listened to residents’ concerns and has agreed to suspend the work until August.

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Nick Higgins, who is part of the protest group, said: “The police have halted all tree felling and demolition until a council planning enforcement officer turns up to prove special permissions are in place.”

A spokesman for Westpoint Homes said: “Westpoint Homes have all of the required permissions to allow the removal of a select number of trees on the site.

“These permissions include Planning Permission, Conservation Area Consent, and a letter from the planning department confirming they are satisfied with our proposal to protect those trees taht are remaining.

“With this in mind,  senior personnel from Westpoint Homes met local residents this morning to listen to their concerns surrounding the removal of the trees at this time.

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“As a successful developer of over 30 years standing, we take our responsibilities very seriously and ensure that we always have all required permissions in place and that we follow all current legislation and best practice guides.

“It has been agreed between the parties that no further works will take place in respect of tree removal until the 1st August.”

Residents have opposed a number of separate plans for new homes on the site, mainly due to concerns over the height of flats.

A previous application by another developer was rejected by Glasgow City Council, after 300 objections were lodged. However, the firm was successful in its appeal to the Scottish Government and Westpoint took over the project.