Our Latest News

2nd Aug 2017



 
10th July 2017

1st June 1017

We have some new Indian Runner Ducklings

 

30th Jan 2017

Dirty tactics update. Its been 18 months of a battle so far. Don’t think this will be the last story he is involved in.
 
 

1st Jan 2017 – Happy New Year to you all

Click for a PDF copy of below Beech Tree- This year at the Beech Tree 

 

 

 

 

26th October 2016 – Happy Birthday Beech Tree – 40 years

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12th October 2016

untitled angry

Ever get the feeling you are taking on the world?
Just when you think everything can move on….
So far we have had in through complaints
– The SSPCA – all was fine
– Health & Safety – all was fine
– SEPA – all was fine
Now… it was a complaint to Trading Standards.
So just to clarify we do hand cut & paint all of our wooden products for sale here at the Beech Tree & we do print all of our baby bibs & t-shirts on site at the Beech Tree. Trading standards are happy with what we do.

 

Oct 2016 – Just a wee up-date on the carpark plans. Despite the difficulties we have encountered in the past year, this is a wee movie of what we have done in preparation for moving the carpark over. As you can see we have done a lot & will start slowly progressing when we have earnt enough funds to do the carpark. It is an on-going project but we will keep you up-dated. Thanks to you… all the hard work seems easier with your support, which I hope you continue to do.

Now we have managed to start the new bike park, walkers water stop & pony pit stop

 

What we have been up to this weekend – 7th Aug 2016

 

 

Planning update – 19th July 2016 

GREAT NEWS… We have now been granted the planning permission for the Carpark!

I feel overwhelmed & cannot THANK YOU all enough for the support you have shown the Beech Tree with our carpark issues. To be honest, the whole experience has been stressful & horrible nightmare. I am not naive enough to think this is all over yet, with the threat of lawyers, & some of the other things that are going on. Thankfully we try to do things properly here, so it hasn’t caused us any problems.

Although a horrid time, it has also been so humbling to see how much support the Beech Tree has been given by you. I am so glad the Beech Tree has a place in your heart and not just in mine. When it gets me down, I read all your comments on Facebook, private messages & emails, which has pulled me through to this point. As a small independent business it is difficult to fight this. It has been on-going for over a year now, adding a lot of additional financial burdens & I have a long way to go through yet to get the Beech Tree out the other side, but we fight on. The biggest problem being we will have to continue paying the landlord for the old carpark for the next 5 years as well as paying for the new carpark, so we hope you continue to use the Beech Tree as every penny makes a big difference.

You have taken my word on all I have written online, which has been 100% true, we can provide proof to all I have said, but thank you so much for believing me. There is no way I can think of to thank you all, but hopefully we can have a big carpark opening party when it is finally done. This may take quite a bit of time, dependent on our cash flow as we are not cash rich & are just a wee business trying to make ends meet, but I will do it as soon as I possibly can. So the hard work starts now! We have lots to do over the coming months/years. I will keep you posted on Facebook & the website as to what we are up to. My staff all work so hard & I am so lucky to have such a great team who are so supportive. My thanks also go to them as they have been incredible during this difficult time.

I have to also thank Scottish Water & Stirling Council as none of this would have been possible without their support. Scottish Water are my heroes for stepping in & agreeing to lease us the only bit of land we could have used. They have granted the Beech Tree security for the next 20 years with the new carpark lease. Both Scottish Water & Stirling Council have been of great support throughout. Thank you.

The Facebook response from you has been legendary. One of the posts reaching over 54,400 people, thanks to you sharing it. Please share this again as I would like my heart-felt thanks to go to as many people as possible.

To be completely honest you have all spurred me on so much with your support. I know I am in the privileged position to own the Beech Tree, but really that means I am the current caretaker in ensuring the Beech Tree is here for many more years to come. I will continue to do my best to ensure your visits bring you much pleasure & happiness as possible & hope you will continue to support the Beech Tree. It is only with your support that we can get through this. I am just so grateful that I didn’t need to shut the doors for the last time & make all my wonderful staff redundant.

So for the time being… from a wee independent business which is so proud to be able to continue in business… THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! I hope this now means that all businesses can now move forward in their own space. Live & let live.

West Highland Way update – 20th July 2016 

We had a great day with Cemex today. It was a “lend a hand day”. They all worked so hard to help us with the West Highland Way path. So grateful to them all, we couldn’t have done it without them. Thank you guys & girls for all that you did today. They are all a credit to thier company.

 West Highland Way update – 16th July 2016 

Still no news, but this is what we are working on

 

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Planning update – 12th April

Still no news ,but this is what we are working on

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Planning update – 31st March

Still no news yet, sorry.

Planning update – 10th March

It is unlikely that we will know the result from the planning decision for at least a couple of days, possibly longer.

We will post on facebook & on our website as soon as we are notified of the decision.

 

Update – 7th March 2015

More dirty business from the landlords of the carpark!

Once again I feel that I have to inform you of the following so you can make your own minds up as we find ourselves in a further situation.

The son of our carpark landlord, the guy who wants to buy the Beech Tree, the guy who is trying to force me out by threatening not to renew the carpark lease, has now opened a caravan snack van on the West Highland Way between Milngavie & us. He is apparently doing this snack van at the weekends to raise money for charity, presumably this will go to all week when the season kicks off.

Several of our customers have informed us this weekend that he is now stopping people on the West Highland Way & telling people not to use the Beech Tree.

Perhaps he is now trying to take away some of our much needed business as well as the carpark, so that we can’t afford to fight this. I’m not sure how low they will sink, but I will never lower myself to do business like they do. On many occasions we have recommended stops on the West Highland Way, the Oakwood garden centre, The Oak Tree, many places, that’s just what you do, it’s helping to promote the area & promote the walk. Perhaps they think the big walls of their castle makes them able to treat people in any way they want. Not sure what is coming next, just so disappointed in them!

I do not like going public with all of this, but I have to fight for the future of the Beech Tree. Like all places some people love the Beech Tree, others hate the Beech Tree, all I ask is for you to make your own minds up.

What ever happened to live & let live.

 

To stop the rumours that are circulating about the Beech Tree…  Here are the facts.

We have been forced to apply for Planning permission for a new carpark to replace the current existing car park. The business is secure for just now.

Back in June 2015 the carpark landlord came into the Beech Tree & in front of staff proceeded to tell me to take the new fences down, which I had put up to section of the pony field into paddocks. He said “the Trust may not renew my carpark lease” which only has 5 years (ish) left to run.  At the same time he introduced me to one of his sons & said “This is my son who wants to buy the Beech Tree”. Alarm bells started ringing as I have been trying to purchase the carpark to secure the future of the Beech Tree for many years. It became clear that I am land locked as they own all the surrounding ground apart from one bit at the back of the Beech Tree on the West Highland/John Muir Way. Without a car park the Beech Tree Inn is not sustainable & I would be forced to sell it to him. I have no intentions of selling the Beech Tree to anyone so have to fight for it.
In June 2015 I had a site meeting with the Senior Access Manager for Stirling Council (who is responsible for this section of the West Highland Way) & Scottish Water representatives (who own the bit of land). Thankfully Scottish Water agreed to lease me the back section for our ponies & the front section for our carpark & Stirling Council agreed to let us move the West Highland Way.

So where are we up to now? Well the application for planning is in, but unfortunately this has received objections from our neighbours. To hopefully clarify our position in all of this we would like to publish below our responses to the objections so that you can make your own mind up. This is done with respect to the neighbours & have removed their names & addresses. Neighbour comments are taken from Stirling Council documents under our planning application Beech Tree Inn -15/00846/FUL. To see all the comments in full click here.

If you wish to make a comment please click here

We have added a page on the West Highland Way path proposals & will continue to up-date this page with any news or changes.

Click here for the WEST HIGHLAND WAY PATH PROPOSAL

Carpark Plan - Photo for web

 

Neighbour Comments on Safety
“Safety The new planned entrance and exit point is closer to the actual village and will increase the risk of accidents with other vehicle’s exiting the existing lane or driveways. Walkers from the West Highland Way will also be crossing at the same junction causing sight hazards.”
“HGV’s delivering food and drink or removing waste will either have to reverse in or out onto the main A81 which will be dangerous. The existing car park can also take coaches, where will they park in this new development. Will they stop on the A81 when dropping off passengers causing a risk to other road users. The planned parking spaces further down the Way will be very difficult and dangerous to manoeuver into and dangerous to walkers on the Way.”
“Children going to the play area will also be crossing the carpark which will be hazardous.”

“SAFETY/ACCESS (please also see Appendix 1)
“CARS exiting the proposed car lot would have their view blocked, to the easterly side of the car park, due to the obstruction caused by the Beech Tree building, which is situated right up to the A81 roadside. This would make it very difficult for traffic coming in and out of the proposed car park to see oncoming traffic, current speed limit 40mph.”
“Road Users: By moving the existing car park to the north of the Beech Tree Inn the line of sight for those exiting the car park is greatly decreased. From the new position there are potentially cars coming from four different points onto the main road – Beech Tree Inn car park, End Cottage, Blane End Cottage and the lane to other houses in the village – and walkers on the West Highland Way.”
“Walkers: The current exit from the WHW, travelling north, introduces a staggered crossing of the A81 and walkers do not immediately have to cross this busy road. With the line of the WHW being altered it will bring walkers straight in line with the WHW on the other side of the road. Many of the walkers using the way are from abroad and it is already a problem that they look the wrong way as they approach the road. The change to the line of sight increase the hazard to walkers.”
“WALKERS exiting the West Highland Way have a considerable space on exiting the current West Highland Way gate, where they can consider crossing, stop to look at their maps and anticipate oncoming traffic. The assumption of change to the West Highland Way does not allow for any stopping space. Walkers often cover the West Highland Way in groups and so there would be no safe space allowance for any more than two walkers, one bike or a walker with one dog. Any more walking traffic than this would be at risk of spilling out on to the A81 road (speed limit 40 mph)”

“Children: Two new areas have been created within the past two months at the rear of the Beech Tree Inn. One is a fenced area to keep ponies & possibly other animals. The other area is an activity/wildlife area on the corner of the A81 and the lane adjacent to Pendle Cottage. Both of these areas are going to attract children but in order to get to them children will need to cross the new carpark. The fencing on the corner site is very poor and we have concerns for the safety of any children playing in the area. Paths have been constructed with broken roofing tiles and red blaise, the area has a stream running through it and has a number of fallen trees.”
“CHILDREN who are curious to see the ponies on the proposed agricultural space (already fenced off) which runs along the other side of the proposed car park from the Beech Tree Inn, would most certainly be at serious risk if they attracted over to the ponies area and the newly created “children’s woodland walk”.”

“This area was transformed about 2 months ago into a childrens play are with outdoor play equipment, paths made of broken slate and a fast flowing stream running through it giving concern about health & safety.”

Beech Tree Response: Safety
Cars
This is for the roads department to decide, however I was lead to believe this does not cause an issue as long as the entrance is in the position that it is in. As it is a dropped curb, access is already in place for Scottish Water. We have moved the entrance on the plans as per the recommendations for Stirling Council. There is still plenty of room to turn HGVs at the rear of the Beech Tree so reversing onto the main road will not happen. The west highland way is going to be sectioned off with raised railway sleepers to be in-keeping with the old Dumgoyne railway station that was here & cars are not too close to the proposed West Highland Way walk way. In addition: It has also been pointed out several times by different people that the existing entrance is at the 40mph signs and is just after a slight bend in the road, the new entrance would be further into the 40mph on a straight bit of road, so traffic is naturally slower.

Walkers
There is considerable space on the west highland way within the proposed carpark site for them to consider the crossing, maps etc. This will be no different to the entrance onto the road from the other side, which has increasing amounts of walkers coming that way from the John Muir way. It exits straight onto the road. I think keeping groups off the road is a good thing. The hazard to walkers is actually decreased as they wouldn’t be expected to walk along a busy road. I campaigned hard for 2 years to get the 40mph put into the road to make it safer for walkers and villagers who used the pavements to the old post office. I will happily put up any signage that is required to ensure all walkers are aware of the road. The Senior Access Officer at Stirling Council has been consulted throughout.

Children
Children currently cross a carpark to get to the animals, so the risk factor is the same. However, as the majority of cars will be parked on the side of the ponies & mini woodland walk, therefore actually reducing the current risk. We also currently have 5mph speed signs on our current carpark & would move them to the new carpark. A full risk assessment has been done for this by our insurers in the past. Some of the fencing has already been replaced, however the whole of the fence on the road is still to be done. The mini woodland walk has already been partly fenced off giving the ponies access to the burn & to stop children getting to it. A small section still has to be completed. For insurance reasons we could not let children go near the burn as with our existing burn at the old carpark, it has been fenced off since I took over. This is all work in progress and we have much work to do should this application be successful. The fallen trees that caused any risk have already been removed from this site. We are trying to give a subtle education to children with our mini woodland walk. This is NOT a play area & we do NOT have a petting zoo. Last month we planted 50 Conifer Trees around the perimeter to enclose it from neighbours, it is not completed as yet & is very much work in progress. I would like to point out if safety is such a high risk, why would you play football there with your son in the past.

 

Neighbour Comments: Light Pollution:

“We will have headlights shining into our windows at the rear of our property as the area planned goes so far along on the Way, we are presently protected by a wall of trees from the existing car park. The Beech Tree presently has floodlighting which is extremely bright and I assume that additional lights will be added to illuminate the new car park causing a serious impact on light pollution in the dark skies above.”

“Currently there are 5 floodlights which are as tall if not taller than street lamps. There is no street lighting in Dumgoyne and never has been. This is something that residents value as we are able to observe the stars at night in the sky. We are used to the privacy awarded by having no street lighting . It’s not for everyone but that is why some choose to live here. If this proposed car park were to go ahead we would most certainly be affected by the strong lighting that has been erected in the existing car park. I would assume that for insurance purposes and security purposes there is no way round this so it would be an essential for the Beech Tree Inn but an everyday annoyance for many residents.“

“We have concerns about additional disturbance from car headlights shining into our house as cars turn onto the A81 from the car park.”

“The exiting security lights in the Beech Tree car park are extremely bright and shine for prolonged periods of time. If these lights are moved to the proposed new car park they will have serious impact on the dark sky quality of our house. We live in a country area with no street lighting for very good reason and have no wish to see it disturbed.”

Beech Tree Response: Light Pollution:

All exterior lights are switched off when we close. The lights will be at the pony side of the West Highland way shining into the carpark & not towards the houses. The lane opposite their house will have car lights shining into their windows, but with the distance between their cottage & the proposed new entrance I cannot see how this would affect them. The light would be the same impact that they currently have being on a busy main road. The Beech Tree is also very seasonal & on Mondays to Wednesday we close at 4pm in the winter & the majority of the traffic will have left the Beech Tree prior to 10pm in the summer when it is still light. The water pipe is above the ground at the far end & will block the majority of car lights turning in or out of a parking space.

As we have said there is much work to be done.  We have already gained permission from Scottish Water to plant more trees on our side of the burn at the fence which will also give more blockage to them in the future. We are also at the early stage of talks with Stirling’s Low Carbon Future & Balfron High School regarding a tree & wild flower planting programme as part of their studies.

 

Neighbour Comments: NOISE POLLUTION

“The Beech Tree Inn can be very busy when the weather is fair. Almost all of the customers arrive by car. The A81 is currently a very busy road and cars will constantly have to slow down and speed up to allow those entering and exiting the proposed car parking site. This entrance is only a few metres away from our houses. We will have to put up with increased noisy traffic. The noise of car engines, car doors slamming, car locks beeping and car alarms going off would be clearly audible to all surrounding houses. The proposed change of the front entrance round to the existing rear of the building would also bring round the noise of the customers going in and out of the Beech Tree. The existing situation is not ideal as cars and vans pass at great speeds, already slowing down for walkers etc. With the increase in numbers near to our houses the noise will be unbearable particularly at busy summer times. This proposed entrance will also be the only entrance for cars and delivery vans to the Beech Tree Inn. Currently the residents do not get disturbed by any noise from existing Beech Tree Inn traffic or customers as they are all on the other side of the Beech Tree Inn buildings”

“The planned alteration will result in increased noise from cars entering and leaving the car park where currently this is deadened by the Beech Tree buildings. Noise from people talking, shouting and slamming doors late into the evening.”

“Excess noise of people exiting a pub with noisy conversations and slamming of car doors close to by bedroom window, not forgetting air pollution from car exhausts”

“The new position of the car park will mean the residents will suffer increased noise from engines, slamming car doors, people talking, or shouting which we do not presently suffer as the existing car park is so far away. “

Beech Tree Response: Noise Pollution

There may be a slight increase in noise because cars will be closer, however as with our current carpark we will continue to lock the gates when closed so therefore we can ensure no noise during the night.

The Beech Tree has never been run as a pub, since I took over it has been run as a family restaurant & therefore we do not have the same noise disturbance. We close at 9pm during the week & 10pm on a Friday & Saturday so it’s not late into the evening.

I don’t know how many customers actually slam their car doors

 

Neighbour Comments: Loss of Privacy:

“The position of the new car park will mean that customers will be able to see into the side and rear of our property which they cannot do at present. The Beech Tree presently has CCTV coverage around the pub, and existing car park this will be extended which may cover the rear of my property which we do not wish.”

 “CCTV cameras currently cover the existing area of the Beech Tree Inn. If they are moved to cover the proposed carpark we have concerns they will also cover our house. We have no wish to have our house monitored by staff or customers in the pub.”

Beech Tree Response: Loss of Privacy

The CCTV has never covered any houses & is already in existence at the rear of the building, which is also used by Police Scotland regularly as it covers a bit of the road. This has been in place for about 8 years. Under data protection we couldn’t & have no wish to cover any houses. It is there for the protection of my building, my staff & my customers.

You will see by the photos provided by one objector that there is already coverage from conifers. As previously stated. I cannot, will not & do not wish to cover anyone else’s propriety with my CCTV. Ironically I was recently asked by one of the local house owners to check the camera to see if I had coverage of a suspicious car on their lane. As I do not cover this area I had nothing to provide.

Please see below a photo taken in the summer, whilst standing on the Water pipe which is closer than the public can now get.

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This is the view from the current WHW this morning. With the new fence in place the public are actually further away from the houses.

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Neighbour Comments: Loss of local amenity:

“The proposed grass area at the rear of the Beech Tree is used by walkers and the public presently to walk dogs, picnic, play and camp this will be lost if the proposed car park development is approved

 “Locals and visitors currently use the grass area on the West Highland Way (to the rear of the Beech Tree) to picnic, play games, camp and walk dogs. Part of this area has already been removed from use and has been fenced off as an animal area. The entrance to the WHW is used regularly by WHW and dog walkers to park their cars for short periods of time. This space will be lost of it becomes the entrance to the car park.”

Beech Tree Response: Loss of local amenity

I am not sure where everyone is getting camping from. Scottish water have never allowed this here & have written it into the lease that no camping will be allowed. Signs on the WHW were in place prior to me taking over the Beech Tree & are still there as per the photo below.

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The picnic tables are provided by the Beech Tree for walkers, which obviously we do not need to do, but will continue to provide them. The actual risk of the local amenity is the closure of the Beech Tree facility as it cannot operate without a carpark & the future could have to be selling it for housing amongst other thoughts.
The grass at the west highland way has only been tidied since I started cutting it about 7 years ago.
Firstly, I would point out the business would not be requesting the changes unless necessary. There would be a complete loss of amenity & jobs if the Beech Tree was to close. I note that no-one mentions the John Muir Way that is also on this stretch of land. I provide the picnic tables for walkers on the way, I do not need to this, if I was just thinking about the business & not the welcome to Scotland I would not have been providing picnic tables for the past 7 years as it is not a good business decision to let them eat their picnics when we sell food. There is actually an added amenity with the mini woodland walk
Neighbour Comments: UNAPPROVED WORK COMPLETED

“New fences have been erected along the proposed site from the road to end of the proposed site area. A woodland walk way has been constructed and fenced on the proposed area. Broken concrete roof tiles have been laid along the proposed site as a path from the A81 along the side of the fence, running in a parallel direction of the West Highland Way. This work has not been approved and we have been advised by Killearn Community Council that the newly erected fencing is not permitted without permission.”

Beech Tree Response: Unapproved work completed.

I wasn’t aware that a fence to keep ponies in required planning permission… it does not require planning permission. Scottish water did a site visit & gave us permission for this fence. Scottish water issued us with a notice of works & signed off a completion certificate. I had requested the visit to ensure they were happy with where we were siting it, prior to the work being carried out.

The woodland walk was an after thought, when we were clearing the land ready for the ponies it became clear that this area was full of rabbit warrens & therefore totally unsuitable for the ponies with the risk of broken legs, so this was fenced off & I decided to make it into a mini woodland walk as subtle education for the kids to enhance the area & give back to the wildlife that lives here. Planning permission is not required to put down a pathway through a mini wooded area. There is no play equipment in this site. The paths in the woodland are still at the early stages & still have to be finished. As I have said before, there is a lot of work still to be done.

 

Neighbour Comment: DESTRUCTION OF AN ICONIC GREEN SPACE

“The current space at the rear of the Beech Tree Inn which accommodates the current West Highland Way path, is also a space for walkers to sit and enjoy their packed lunches, for walkers to walk their dogs, for residents and visitors to play with their children. I regularly walk my dog in this area and in milder weather use this space to play football with my son. I know I’m not the only one. Please see Appendix 1 to note the difference in size of the proposed car park and existing car park and also consider the area of the green space to the rear of the Beech Tree Inn, housing the West Highland Way path, burn and layby on the satellite map of the existing Beech Tree Inn space.”

Beech Tree Response: Destruction of an iconic green space

The existing carpark is to be turned back into field, so no green space will be lost. My intention is to lift my Type1 from the current carpark. Skim the top level of grass from the proposed carpark & swap them over.

Dog walkers can still walk their dogs, unfortunately not all are responsible when it comes to dog dirt so I’m surprised when people sit & eat pack lunches or play ball games there. This is why we provide picnic tables for the walkers & enlisted the help of Stirling Council several years ago to put up dog fouling signs.

Please see the photo-1. This shows the area when I purchased the beech tree inn back in 2004

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For many years we have also used this area for maps of both the John Muir Way & West Highland Way providing information on mileage & camping, etc.

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It is only because I adopted this space that it has been tidied up with Scottish Waters blessing. Why would I ruin this space after working so hard on it over the years. It is in the best interest of the business to make the space as appealing as possible. As a regular user of the beech tree over many years I am very surprised of the strong use of language – “destruction”. The local residents are lucky enough to have all this countryside surrounding them, however we noted very early on in my 11 years & 6 months at the Beech Tree that a lot of our family business comes from Glasgow & the site was then built up as a subtle education for children. We have never been a petting farm but feel it is important for kids to be able to see animals reasonably close. The mini woodland walk is to further enhance this whilst visiting the Beech Tree or just for people just wanting to stretch their legs.

 

Neighbour Comment: RE-ROUTING OF THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

“Having been informed by one of my neighbours, it is clear that the West Highland Way Association have not been consulted in regards to the proposed move of the West Highland Way path to accommodate this car park. I find it hard to believe that someone can just do this without consulting more than council planning. This is an iconic tourist route, recognised internationally. Surely consultation must go on between other groups who maintain these paths. Groups such as the West Highland Way Asssociation, the Killearn Paths Group and the Killearn Community Council. None of these groups have been consulted on this.”

“To pass this planning request means that instead of an open green space where walkers are free to stop and rest, put up tents and wild camp, they will be marched along a fenced off, narrow path made up of old broken concrete roof tiles and grit. Once filed along this unsightly path they find themselves straight on to a narrow pavement directly in line of A81 traffic. Traffic which regularly consists of vans, trucks, tourist coaches and timber lorries. In addition to this a children’s woodland walk will be directly on the other side of a small fence from the mentioned traffic. There are so many factors which highlight the safety issues here it is most concerning.”

Beech Tree Response: Re-routing the west highland way

Stirling Council maintain this path. The Senior Access Manager has been consulted since the problem arose in June 2015 & he has advised on this. I wasn’t aware that I needed to or should have consulted any other groups. The “West Highland Way Association” does not exist & the other groups do not have the final say on this path. As previously stated it is Stirling Councils responsibly & we have permission from them.

The path hasn’t been done yet. It will have a surface the same as the current west highland way path when finished. It has hardly been started. I had the opportunity of recycling some slate & bricks, so this was broken up to start the base layer of the new path. The plan is to raise the level of the path to ensure no puddles on this section. The process is to raise it with rubble/slate, top it with type 1 & then compress whin dust into it. It will look the same in the end as the current West Highland Way path does or maybe better. The current West Highland way will be in full use until the new path is finished. There will be no interruptions to walks or cyclists.

 

Neighbour Comment: DESTRUCTION OF EXISTING VIEWS OF THE WEST HIGHLAND WAY

If you look at Appendix 1 at the existing car park space and then the proposed car park space you will notice that the existing car park is not within the line of sight of any walkers on the West Highland Way. However the proposed car park would be in full view of walkers coming from either direction on the West Highland way. This would be viewed for a number of hundreds of meters from both sides. Due to the nature of the proposed entrance and shape of the car park there would be nothing that the owner could do to camouflage this grey space filled with cars. There is a memorial bench, which commemorates the death of a walker of the West Highland Way, placed on the green space that would otherwise make way for a car space. Should the people who sought permission to place this bench not have a say in this proposed change. Has this been considered and who’s duty is it to ensure this is taken into consideration? I don’t believe everyone who should be consulted about this has been. I find it arrogant to request such changes without considering all the people who use this space and I question whether this has not been done as the answer can already be predicted. If you asked all the walkers, cyclist, runners, riders, associations who maintain and use this path if they approved of this proposed change to the West Highland Way, I think I’d be making a good and accurate guess that their answers would be no to this change. We as residents are not alone. I also hope that you have heard from the Killearn Community Council, who were not consulted about this proposed change. The met in January and the residents of Dumgoyne brought this application to the agenda. All of the council were most concerned regarding this and the lack of consultation.”

Beech Tree Response: Destruction of existing views of the whw

I don’t suppose most walkers would mind the carpark being in their line of sight as most of them use our toilet facilities. I assume this would be a preferable view to a boarded up building with no facilities. Suppose it’s no different to other sections of the west highland way where they cross busy roads & and see cars in a carpark, public toilets, etc.

The memorial bench will stay where it is, under the trees as this area is part of the proposed bike park. As far as I am aware, no one has sought permission to put that bench there, not that it makes any difference as I am not looking to move it. Certainly no-one asked me for permission when it was at my back door prior to me fencing that garden off some 5 or 6 years ago. I was the one who put it out under the trees so that people could still see & use it.

 

Neighbour Comment: A NEW FLOOD RISK TO NEIGHBOURS

The preplanning application states that the site does not cause a flooding risk and is not proposed for agricultural space, however in both cases this is untrue. The site is proposing the housing of the 3 ponies and a newly created children’s walk way. To get to the walk way children will have to cross over the burn which runs through the proposed site. This burn runs down from Baptiston Farm, through a regularly maintained culvert (maintained weekly by Scottish Water), under the A81 and straight through the land of the proposed car lot/agricultural space/children’s woodland walk way. This small wooden bridge runs alongside the pony fenced area leading to the children’s woodland walk way. It is possible that the burn could become clogged up if it has debris thrown in such as sticks, hay, muck out waste from the ponies shelter, stones from the new paths and car park, ash from the waste which is burned by the Beech Tree Inn and currently dumped on the side of the West Highland Way. It has been made clear to residnets that any back up on this burn could very likely be a further cause of flooding to the A81 and subsequently to our houses.   In 2011 the houses across from the proposed site were flooded due to lack of regular maintenance of the culvert, by Scottish Water. As already stated the burn runs under the A81 from one side to the proposed car park site. Scottish Water have clearly identified that if the burn on the proposed site of the car lot were to become clogged up and back fill, during heavy rain, it would cause the road to flood and the surrounding houses to flood again. Currently Scottish Water maintain weekly clearing of the culvert on the Baptiston Farm side of the road and this has dramatically reduced the risk of any flooding since the maintenance began. This has allowed the residents to feel safe again in their own homes. If however the other side of the burn was disturbed, clogged and backed up this would become a new source to an old flooding problem. We are not prepared to allow the responsibility of this to become that of the Beech Tree Inn.”

“The stream overflows in periods of heavy rain (twice in past month up to the level of my back lawn). As the fence, mine and a new one erected about 1 foot away are only 3 feet high I fear that my property will be intruded on by children returning footballs, natural curiosity, and the desirability of picking snowdrops in the Spring as that part of my garden is woodland and full of flowers. Rubbish could also gather in the stream as the burns merge close by – The Sauchie Burn and the Brachie Burn.”

“Increased flood risk both from childrens play area and from cars possibly driving over a large water main”

 

Beech Tree Response: A new flood risk
Flood Hazzard: I have never seen any flooding on this side of the road, other than when the other convert collapsed, which was renewed by Stirling Council & Scottish Water approx. about 4 years ago.

I know in the past that End Cottage & Blane End Road Cottage have been flooded, however, in the 11.5 years I have been here I have not seen any flooding in the proposed ground other than on the West Highland Way, which we would be putting in drainage as currently there is none.

As far as the burn next to the carpark goes, we have already cleared it & strimmed the edges for better water flow. This burn was never on my list before, so actually it will decrease the risk of any flooding they have as we will regularly clear it as we do with our current burn.

In additional, this area has already been leased by the Beech Tree Inn, therefore I believe it is already the responsibility of the Beech Tree inn to keep this burn clear which has previously been un-managed for the past 11years & I suspect beyond. Perhaps before it was in our responsibility no-one actually took responsibility for it & perhaps that is why it has flooded your gardens. As far as cars driving over the water main, this is now safer than ever as it is now fenced off & I think the snowdrops are safe.

Below you will see a photo prior to us clearing it & one after, we have already started working on this burn for better water flow.

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Taken from the other side below

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Neighbour Comment: THE BEECH TREE INN HAS ENOUGH OF THEIR OWN LAND ON WHICH TO BUILD A CAR PARK

“Currently the Beech Tree Inn has a large outdoor space used as a garden area. This area is large enough for them to create a car parking space of their own, without building on anyone else’s land. This land is on the other side of the Beech Tree Inn and lies between the buildings and the existing car park. It is also out of view or hearing distance from all residents. The proposed planning application sight is on an area which is leased by the Beech Tree Inn from Scottish Water. I would argue that this lease is presumably time limited. I see it as inefficient of Beech Tree and an easy option for them, to wish to affect all of the points I have mentioned above when they have their own land they could build on and cause much less destruction to others who live round about and tourists who are attracted to this area. I think they should reconsider their own options before causing destruction to land that doesn’t belong to them and is used by everyone.”

Beech Tree Response: The beech tree has enough of their own land on which to build a carpark.

If the business was sustainable without the need of the garden then of course I would use my own land, however it would not be big enough. We would just be as well closing the doors to the beech tree just now & boarding it up. As it is the proposed carpark has less car parking facilities than the existing one, but better smaller than nothing. I am not sure how she can argue that this area is too big to meet the needs of the beech tree as it provides less spaces and we have often used this as an overflow carpark on many occasions. The Beech Tree requires the garden space for the many walkers who like to sit out as well as proven to have created our own market where customers regularly walk from Milngavie, Bearsden, & Strathblane to have lunch here & walk back with dogs, also so many cyclists who use the path. If we had to convert the garden into a carpark, they would still need to come in from that end anyway.
 Neighbour Comment:

“If the petting zoo is also moved closer to my home it is likely to attract vermin and (in summer) flies, caused by animal feed and animal droppings, bringing possible health hazards to my doorstep. Denying me the pleasure of my garden, also where is the animal shelters situated?”

Beech Tree Response:

We do not have a petting zoo. Obviously we are regulated by the Environment Health & the Health & Safety from Stirling Council currently & this does not change. We have our own monthly pest control checks as we cannot allow vermin to go uncontrolled currently, and regular checks from the SSPCA inspectors. It is only the Mini Shetland Ponies that are moving over there and the stable is on the plan.

 

Neighbour Comment:

“It is surprising that the Water Board allow anything to encroach on a main water pipe supply pipeline.”

Beech Tree Response:

Main water pipeline: Scottish Water have agreed all of this works & are leasing the land. The main water pipe has been protected for the first time ever by erecting the pony fence, which means now cars cannot drive over it and it is now protected for the first time ever.

 

Neighbour Comment:

“Increased litter risk”

Beech Tree Response:

The Beech Tree Inn has cleaned up rubbish on this section for years, so absolutely no change

 

Neighbour Comment:

No previous notification of provision of the childrens play are. Was planning permission granted by delegated power or was it ever applied for?”

Beech Tree Response:

No planning permission is required, it’s a walk through a mini woodland, no play equipment, simply to subtly educate children.

 

Neighbour Comments:

“This area has been a public right of way for as many years as we can remember. It is an area where locals walk their dogs and where the thousands of walkers from all over the world rest after the first leg of their journey on the Highland Way.”

“What about the safety of pedestrians on the West Highland Way, which is an established right of way passing over the ground?”

Beech Tree Response:

This area will always be a public right of way & therefore no change. It will actually improve the public walk way as the improvements planned are to raise the path, making it drier & safer as they pass the back of the carpark area.