Bovis Homes apologises for illegal Stafford tree felling
A housing developer has apologised after felling trees in a Staffordshire conservation area without permission.
Stafford Borough Council took action after Bovis Homes felled the trees, on the former St George's Hospital site, in March 2011.
Bovis cut down about 100 trees but failed to get permission to fell seven on the banks of a brook, which were protected by the conservation order.
The firm admitted the charge and was fined £4,000 by Stafford magistrates.
Bovis was also ordered to pay £1,200.
Contractor WLG Chesters also pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined £660 with £1200 costs.
Frances Beatty, borough council cabinet member for planning, said she hoped the case would warn other developers they could not "ride roughshod over planning rules without facing the prospect of court action".
Bovis said it took full responsibility for the mistake and that it would also pay the fine for the contractors.
The housing developer apologised to residents after the felling, admitting it had caused "alarm and distress".
It is currently building 113 homes on the site, between the town's Pearl Brook and the Chartley Centre, near the A34 Queensway.