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Rhu & Shandon Community Council

Commercial Woodlands at Letrault and Stuckenduff 

Scottish Forestry(SF) is the Regulator, Stuckenduff & Letrault farms were the landowners and Scottish Woodlands Ltd is the agent acting on behalf of the landowners.  The Confederation of Forestry Industries have produced a Guidance Note:  Confor. The land was sold in 2021 to Gresham House PLC, an specialist aternative asset manager. In 2021 the Scottish Government Investment Bank, invested £50M in  Gresham House PLC to help the government achieve its Net Zero Target. In December 2023 Gresham House was sold to Searchlight Capital, a Manhattan based private equity firm and is now Gresham House Ltd.

Updated June 3rd 2024

In November 2023 Scottish Forestry(SF) issued an Enforcement Notice on Scottish Woodlands (SW) because they had carried out road works without consent. SW were also required to produce an upsdated Archaeology Report. An Environmental impact Assessment (EIA) was not required by SF for the woodlands at L&S,  just for the road. The Issues Logs which lay behind this decision included no mention of the extensive flooding suffered for years by Shandon residents. The new planting, which is ongoing at this time, is in vertical lines down the slope, which will only exacerbate the flooding problems as will the direction of the new road. In addition SW  had prevented access to L&S at the eastern border contrary to agreements.

Given the behaviour of SW it was agreed that R&SCC should ask SF to revisit the decision not to require an EIA for the commercial woodlands

 17th December 2023: Letter to Scottish Forestry 

21st December 2023: Reply from Scottish Forestry  Our  request  regarding the EIA was refused.

14th February 2024: Response to Scottish Forestry  We received an Email acknowedgement, with assurances that SW was aware of the nesting conditions; full reply promised by March 14th.

3rd March 2024: Letter to Scottish Forestry highlighting damage to Archaeological site

4th March 2024: Response from Cameron Maxwell, Scottish Forestry, thanking us for pointing out  the damage and promising to look into it and report back.

7th Mar 2024: fuller response from Cameron Maxwell

20th March 2024: Response from SF to letter of 14th February

This letter has 4 attachments: Note that these links in the response above are inactive; you need to click the links below.

10th April 2024: EMail to SF asking for update on:Revised Archaeology Report, Peat Depth, Tree Species

11th April 2024:Email  Response from SF with two attachments(second attachment posted under Torr Farm)

5th May 2024:A further unreported  archaeological site was reported to SF and SW 

A reply was received from Adam McLean assuring us that the site would be protected. 

The Commercial Woodlands of Letrault and Stuckenduff were originally considered as two separate applications .

These were lodged with planning in December 2020.

20/02235/FGS | Proposed woodland creation | Letrault Farm Shandon: Submitted December 7th 2020.  Approved February 18th 2021

20/02234/FGS | Proposed woodland creation | Land At Stuckenduff Farm Shandon: Submitted December 7th 2020.  Approved February 18th 2021 

Click on this link to read the initial response of the Community Council which was sent to Scottish Woodlands in April 2020 when the original application was made to create woodlands at Letrault and Stuckenduff.

 Our initial response appears not to have been considered when the Documents posted above were drawn up.  Our initial responses was a large  document and it has been necessary to reformat it in order to post on the website. Click here for a summary of the main points in this document.

Followng the award of grants to develop the woodlands, the land was sold in 2021 to Gresham House, a specialist alternative asset manager.

On December 4th 2020 , Scottish Forestry sent a consultation letter to Rhu and Shandon Community Council and to Argyll and Bute Council.  On December 7th, SW submitted the two Application and these were posted on the Argyll and Bute Planning website on 24th December.  An FGS is not a planning application as forestry is permitted development.

The Planning Applications caught us off guard. We had hoped that the documents we received from Scottish Forestry on December 4th did constitute a consultation, since many of the  issues that were included in the response that we had sent to the agent, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, in April,  had been ignored. We felt that most  could be resolved in the consultation process. When the Proposals were posted on the Planning website on 24th December and we felt that  we had no option but to object to the applications.
We do not object to the creation of the Woodlands in principle, but we do object most strongly to the use of  Pier and Station Road.  Our full submission, too large to post on our website, can be viewed  on the Argyll and Bute Planning site. Information on how to use this site is posted on our website if you want to read it. We have also posted a separate short Objection to the use of Pier and Station Roads. 


Issues Log from SF on Dec 4 2020

Operation Plan from SF on Dec 4 2020 

Species Map from SF on Dec 4 2020 

In the species map opposite

  • Blue for Conifers,
  • Green for Scots Pine
  • Brown for Mixed Native Broadleaves.
  • White Areas for Open Land

Green Delegated Report prepared by Howard Young, dated Feb 18th 2021

Formal Decision forwarded by Fergus Murray to SF dated Feb 18th 2021. 


 Issues Log from SF on Dec 4 2020                    

Operational Plan from SF on Dec 4 2020 

Species Map from SF on Dec 4 2020 

  • Blue for Conifers,
  • Green for Scots Pine and
  • Brown for Mixed Native Broadleaves.
  • White areas for Open Land

Green Delegated Report prepared by Howard Young, dated Feb 18th 2021. 

 Formal decision forwarded by Fergus Murray to SF, dated Feb 18th 2021. 

You can expand the size of these maps by placing pressing CTRL + on a non-touch screen.

The white areas within the boundaries of the plans above represent Open Land, which I think is deep Peat bog. 

Channel 4 News recently ran a story on the Forestry Commission.  It refers the value of Peat bogs; preserving these is better for the planet than growing trees! I cannot link this video from the website, but will include it in the next Newsletter, if it is technically possible. The link is below if you would like to see it; it is well worth a look!

or just type "channel 4  peat bogs" into Google!

The Community Council is concerned by the lack of meaningful consultation and failure of Scottish Woodlands / Gresham House and Scottish Forestry to deliver on the alternative timber transport route etc etc. At the Community Council meeting on April 13th 2022, it was agreed to submit a formal complaint to Scottish Forestry.

Forest Roads and Paths

Formation of Forest Trails 21/02614/PNWAY.  Highlandman's And Torr Forest : June 7th 2023-Undetermined Application on the A&B Planning Portal.

 The documentation for this appeared in the weekly planning list on 17th December 2021 with the deadline for comments being 5th January 2022. The new owner of the land shown below is an Investment Company  based in Oxfordshire.  Forest paths are classed as Permitted Developments  Regulations are in place which protect the habitat and surrounding land and the response made by the Community Council emphasied the necessity of these and objected, not for the first time, that the services of this new woodland is proposed, in perpetuity, to be via Pier and Station Roads. Click here to see the response made by the Community Council. 

The following two images show the paths which will be constructed. You can get better images from the planning website by typing the reference number into Simple Search.