A FURIOUS councillor has slammed housebuilders Barratt over the “massacre” of more than 60 trees in a popular wood.

Audrey Doig claims Barratt was responsible for the “total annihilation” of a wooded area next to Brookfield as work was carried out to widen the existing road.

“I was driving past the Merchiston housing development with my husband and we were shocked at the total annihilation of the area known by many as Merchiston Wood,” said Cllr Doig, who represents the Houston, Crosslee and Linwood ward.

“I immediately contacted the head of planning at Renfrewshire Council and officers have confirmed that what was meant to have been removed were a few lines of trees adjacent to the proposed entrance to the housing development.

“Some Brookfield constituents have consequently contacted me, as this now leaves the village exposed.”

She added: “I had a meeting with Barratt this week and expressed my extreme anger on behalf of my constituents and myself over this unilateral breach.

“Barratt say their position is that access roads need considerably more space than was originally proposed. I can only accept what they are saying but I have warned them to keep in close contact with Brookfield Community Council.

“I was sceptical about this development when it was approved a year ago and, indeed, I voted against it.

“I have to say this kind of breach of trust with local communities does nothing to reassure me.

“I am also meeting with Brookfield Community Council this week and my advice to them is that we must keep a watching brief to ensure Barratt play fair by Brookfield in future.”

The Brookfield development is being built by David Wilson Homes, which is owned by Barratt.

Stuart Dodson, development director for David Wilson Homes West Scotland, said: “The removal of trees was necessary in order to implement the planning consent granted by Renfrewshire Council and was in line with the approved planning drawings.

“We want to assure local residents that we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. I attended a meeting of Brookfield Community Council this week and we will continue to keep in close contact as the development progresses.”

A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson added: “The developer removed a group of trees that were to be retained in the scheme that was granted planning permission.

“The council acted immediately to instruct there are no further unauthorised tree works. We have made clear that an updated landscape strategy must address the issue.

“That is expected to include replacement tree planting to lessen the impact on the environment.

“In the circumstances, we would expect regular updates from the developer to both the council and to the local community.”