Fwd: Save Grove Wood – Act Now!

Save Grove Wood – Act Now!

A large workmen’s hut was erected on 30th May 2008 in Grove Wood. We understand from Bristol City Council that the erection of buildings in Grove Wood contravenes this Conservation Area and that the landowner is fully aware of this restriction.

We are concerned that this could be the prelude to further infringements of this protected area – the loss of more trees and the destruction of wildlife habitat. We have posted up a notice on site to inform anyone that may be about to undertake any work that their actions will be recorded and we will provide witness statements to achieve a prosecution.

We are urging all local people to keep a close eye on Grove Wood and ensure that any activities are recorded. Anything you see could be usefully posted to the blog to build up a record of activities.

To object to the planning proposal to fell the trees, visit the council website:

Indymedia, “Defend Snuff Mills” – read more:
The area of Snuff Mills starting from the Mill up to the first bridge is currently under attack from aggressive ‘woodland management’.

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61 Responses to Fwd: Save Grove Wood – Act Now!

  1. I hope this isn’t another case of the City Council lurching from total disinterest in proper, gradual management to complete chainsaw madness. I dont trust the way they ‘manage’ trees (what do I trust them on?).

  2. Paul Smith says:

    I live near here and am very worried about the creeping ‘development’ first an advertising hording went up, forced down by the city planners, now there is a gate and sign calling it ‘Ikon Park’ – naming of areas is an important hsitoric process and this shows no respect for the area. Now there seems to be slow emergence of fencing along the pathway.

  3. Here is a summary of the tree felling proposals and links to the Council website.

    Application reference: 08/02173/VC
    Planning Portal Reference Number: No Details
    Address of Proposal: Riverside Unit, Blackberry Hill, Bristol, BS16 1DB
    Proposal: Fell Sycamore, Ash, Lime, Beech, Cherry and an Elm trees situated on boundary with road.
    Type of Application: Works to Trees in Conservation Areas
    Environmental Impact Assessment Received? No
    Case Officer: Jon Bown
    Status: Pending Consideration

    Date Application Received: 12/05/2008
    Target Determination Date: 23/06/2008
    Date Application Validated: 12/05/2008
    Actual Committee Date: No Details
    Expiry Date for Neighbour Consultations: No Details
    Expiry Date for Standard Consultations: 06/06/2008
    Expiry Date for Latest Advertisement: No Details
    Expiry Date for Latest Site Notice: 18/06/2008
    Overall Expiry Date: 18/06/2008

    Applicant’s Name: As Agent

    Agent details: John Mair Veritas Ltd, 10 Marine Gardens, Glasgow, G51 1HH
    Agent’s Phone Number: No Details
    (Also known as: Jaffiri Varitas, 19 Downleaze, Bristol, BS9 1LT. Telephone: 07776 205 117)

    UPRN: 000000300839
    Property Name: Riverside Unit, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol, BS16 1DB
    Ward: Frome Vale
    Parish: No Details

    There are 2 constraints associated with this property. There may be constraints associated with this property that can not be displayed. Please contact Bristol City Council for more information.

    Constraint Name: Stapleton and Frome Valley
    Constraint Type: Conservation Area
    Constraint Description: Planning and Traffic (18/02/1981)

    Constraint Name: 21
    Constraint Type: Smoke Control Areas
    Constraint Description:

    Application reference: 99/03242/F
    Applicant Details: CAPITEC
    Agent details: Hallett & Pollard, The Wood Hall, 12 St Thomas Street, Bristol, BS1 6JJ
    Agent’s Phone Number: 9277510
    Proposal: Extend existing Riverside Unit to create two new classrooms and ancillary office to include felling of one Birch, one Lawson Cypress and two Leyland Cypress trees.

    Application reference: 99/03281/VC
    Applicant Details: North Bristol NHS Trust
    Agent details: Capitec, C/o NHS Estates, North Bristol, NHS Trust Headquarters, Beckspool Road, Frenchay
    Agent’s Phone Number: 9753850
    Proposal: Fell one Silver Birch and one Lawson Cypress tree located to front of unit.

    Application reference: 08/02173/VC
    Applicant Details: North Bristol NHS Trust
    Agent details: John Mair Veritas Ltd, 10 Marine Gardens, Glasgow, G51 1HH
    Agent’s Phone Number: No Details
    Proposal: Fell Sycamore, Ash, Lime, Beech, Cherry and an Elm trees situated on boundary with road.


    Mr J M Veritas
    19 Downleaze
    BS9 1LT

    4 March 2008

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Application No: 08/02173/VC
    Proposal: Feling a variety of species within woodland. 5 DAY NOTICE
    Site Address: Land South Of River Frome Broom Hill Bristol

    I refer to your recent notification regarding the above.

    A member of staff from the Forestry Section has visited the site and agreed that the trees are completely dead and should be felled. In this instance, formal consent from the Local Planning Authority is not required.

    However, when a tree is removed because it is dead, dying or dangerous, there is a duty on the owner of the land, under Section 206 and 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to plant another tree, of an appropriate size and species, at the same place as the tree to be felled, as soon as it is reasonably possible. The new tree will have the same legal protection as the tree it replaced.

    In some circumstances, it may not be appropriate to replace the tree and therefore the Local Planning Authority has the power to dispense with this duty.

    In this instance, a replacement tree is not required.

    Yours faithfully
    Julie Seaton
    South and East Area Planning Team
    Reply to: John Bown


    Questions for the Council:
    1. Why has the land owner been excused from replacing trees, against the guidance of the law?
    2. Does Julie Seaton or the Council actually understand what ‘sustainability’ means?
    3. Why didn’t the Council purchase the land in order to preserve the conservation area?
    4. Why has the land owner been allowed to have fires if there are smoke restrictions?
    5. Have the Council passed the woodland management onto the land owner in order to avoid their own responsibility?
    6. Why has the land owner been allowed to pile up live wood and debris along the bank side, thus altering the natural habitat?
    7. Is this the beginnings of a foundation to protect the land from flooding in order to get planning permission?
    8. Is the Council facilitating or playing ignorant of the gradual clearance of Grove Wood for future development?

  4. redzone says:

    all looks a bit suspect to me!!
    the (works?) container is totally out of place in the surroundings. somebody somewhere must know whats going on there??

  5. Keep checking the Snuff Mills Action Group blog for current information:

  6. Adam says:



    Terrible what driving a 4×4 does to a body eh?

    Is this fine figure of a man, not in fact, Mr Hossein Jafari-Najafabadi (an Iranian?) of Sneyd Park?


    The address he gives is the registered address of at least three companies listed at Companies House;


    Name & Registered Office:
    BS9 1LT
    Company No. 06074229

    Status: Active
    Date of Incorporation: 30/01/2007
    Company Type: Public Limited Company
    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):


    Name & Registered Office:
    BS9 1LT
    Company No. 06042440

    Status: Active
    Date of Incorporation: 05/01/2007
    Company Type: Private Limited Company
    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
    4521 – General construction & civil engineering


    Name & Registered Office:
    BS9 1LT
    Company No. 06043310

    Status: Active
    Date of Incorporation: 05/01/2007
    Company Type: Private Limited Company
    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
    7011 – Development & sell real estate

    Previous Names: Date of change Previous Name 07/04/2008 URBAN CREATION (HAMILTON HOUSE) LTD 10/07/2007 URBAN CREATION (CITY LIVING) LIMITED

    A little further confused info here;


    Bristol, South West, BS9 1


    Birmingham, West Midlands, B59 1
    B59 1

    These companies were only set up in January of 2007, and one or two seem to have changed names a couple times in just 18months!


    One might also ask why this man appears to use aliases such as Lord Houshang Jafari and JM Veritas?

  7. Chav says:

    I’m a bit confused. The riverside unit is a, or at least was until very very recently, a child and adolescent mental health unit on glenside campus sitting at the top of the hill above the wood. I don’t see how an application for that can also be used for the wood below. Can anyone clarify this?

  8. katrina says:

    Adam, I am embarrassed for you. First of all, in this country, God Bless the Queen, one is free to change their name, their sex and their company details. Secondly, what exactly is wrong with an Iranian living in Sneyd Park? Is it a designated preservation area for the English?
    Thirdly, Parvannah happens to be a female name in Persia. Do you suggest that Lord Jafari is mutating from man to woman from time to time? As above, this may be his civil right too, either thay… your remarks say more about you than about him.

    Finally, what has any of the above got to do with the preservation of trees?

    Give me half a day and i may wish to publish some home truths about you too!

  9. Adam says:

    Katrina. Please do not be embarrassed on my account. Your intentional misreading of what I wrote, together with your insinuations strike me as being rather low… however I believe that to be the spirit in which they were intended.

    One is indeed free to change ones name, sex, and, company – the question is why do people wish to do it? There are at times genuine reasons for doing so – some people just can’t stand the name they were born with for example. On the other hand, a hypothetical person who ran a good sized development business, and wanted to make a controversial application about felling trees in a conservation area might wish to distance themselves from these activities purely for the sake of avoiding negative publicity – in which case, I would suggest that there would be a genuine case of public interest at stake.

    The fact that this posting has generated such a strong response would suggest to me, and doubtless to many other members of the public, that Mr Veritas (an excellent play on words by the way) may have wanted to keep his identity as a planning applicant secret from the general public.

    I agree with you that there is indeed nothing wrong with an Iranian, or indeed any other national, living in Sneyd Park – however, this place of residence does demonstrate that he has a considerable amount of personal wealth at his disposal… and herein lies the crux of the matter; is it possible that Lord Jafari as you title him (I can find no reference to his lordship’s peerage online – I would be interested to know where he is a lord of) could be being treated differently to us commoners? Is it possible that in this ancient city of Bristol that wealth can buy influence? If this were to be the case, then we would have indeed reached a sad state of affairs.

    What it has to do with the preservation of trees is quite simple; in a society where all are held to be equal under the law regardless of their wealth or rank, one has to ask why some individuals seem to be exempted from duties which are placed on others – for example the planting of trees to replace those which it was deemed necessary to fell. This seems to me, and I suspect to many others too, to be a privilege (from the Latin – private law – the right of wealthy individuals to apply their own family law, rather than the law of the state). It may be that there is an innocent explanation for this – if this is the case, then it would be easy for Lord Jafari to enlighten us – indeed, by doing so he could lay to rest the suspicions that lurk in the minds of many readers of this blog.

    Thank you for explaining to me that Parvannah is a female name – I must confess to my ignorance on that score. From this I take it that the different names of the directors of the various companies are in fact different family members.

    “Give me half a day and i may wish to publish some home truths about you too!”

    Your thinly veiled threats do you a disservice – they are however now posted here on a public forum for all to see… others may choose to draw their own conclusions about you based on your tone… for my own part, I suspect that you have a close personal relationship with Lord Jafari…

    … and incidentally (God bless the Queen), I am, and always have been, a constitutional monarchist – the only other option would be a presidency – that would guarantee a corrupt head of state with fingers in every pie would it not?

  10. katrina says:


    You are a very intelligent and educated person. I accept your comments on some of the issues.


    I choose to take the side of this poor man for a few reasons.
    Firstly, none of the Action groups mentioned on the blogs attemped to purchase the land. It sold for a ridiculously low price, which could have been easily shared by 100 people… very wise investment that would have been.

    Secondly, i have known this particular piece of land for 10 years and i would never walk there with my children or my dogs. There are used condoms and needles there, dark corners etc.. not a safe place. This guy cut some trees down and i have seen what he has done, i do not think it is as bad as people make out. It is now a safe place to walk.

    Thirdly, speculations are running wild as to what this man will do to the land. No investor would fund the built of a hotel without planning concent. Unless this guy is really rich or really stupid, he will submit a planning application, which anyone is free to object to.

    I have objections to the personal attacks on the land owner, especially as people who attack him have done nothing to prevent this situation.

    Adam, i worked for the council for 2 years. I left there because i was sick to watch paxpayers money wasted by people who do nothing all day, take 1 week a month sick and drink coffee to combat boredom.

    Fair play to this guy, he is doing what all of you have failed to do!

  11. Jasmaheen says:

    Events are taking on a desperately bizarre and surreal aspect.

    “John Mair, the spokes person for Lord Jafari, is pleased to announce our latest proposal to convert Icon Park to a Public Naturist Resourt. The resourt will welcome all to explore ‘the inner animal within’ and indulge in the purity of nature in the valley of river Frome. We welcome all naturists to visit the park this weekend to give their ideas on the improvements to the site for this purpose.” John Mair, Bristol

    The identities and entities surrounding “Lord Jafari” have been proliferating at an extraordinary rate, which is raising more and more curiosity to know just who is attempting to disturb the peace of the woods around Snuff Mills, and what they are up to. Quite reasonably, local people want to know who they are dealing with and what their angle is.

    Just to point out, none of the information (posted below) is in any way private – it can easily be found by googling.

    So who is this “John Mair” who is claiming to be a spokes person for Lord Jafari?

    Is he the same as “John Mair Veritas Ltd” of 10 Marine Gardens, Glasgow, G51 1HH, that is acting as agent in the planning application?

    Unlike Lord Jafari’s previous agent in 2000, one J Harding of Weston-super-mare who appears to be a real architect with a practice, I found no trace of any “John Mair” on the internet in connection with Marine Gardens, a small road of semi-detached houses located close to the Pacific Quay regeneration scheme on the Clyde. Nor could I find any record of this “limited company” at companies house.

    Or is “John Mair” the same person as “John David Mair”, named on bizzy,info as taking over the directorship of yet another company “Irco International Ltd” when “Houshang Jafari Najafabadi” resigned ???

    “IRCO INTERNATIONAL LIMITED 02341317 Other business activities 19 DOWNLEAZE, SNYED PARK, BRISTOL, AVON, BS9 1LT UNITED KINGDOM Incorporated on 31 January 1989 Last full Members list on 14 April 2008 Last Accounts filed to 31 March 2007”

    “Registered Office changed on 14/04/08
    03/03/2008 Director Appointed MR JOHN DAVID MAIR
    03/03/2008 Secretary Appointed MR AMIR SAJAD JAFARI
    03/03/2008 Director Resigned HOUSHANG JAFARI NAJAFABADI
    21/02/2008 Company Name Changed IRCO INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
    07/01/2008 Annual Accounts (Dormant Company) made up to 31/03/07” and so on.


    Name & Registered Office:
    BS9 1LT
    Company No. 02341317

    Status: Active
    Date of Incorporation: 31/01/1989

    Country of Origin: United Kingdom
    Company Type: Private Limited Company
    Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
    7415 – Holding companies including head offices
    7487 – Other business activities
    Accounting Reference Date: 31/03
    Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/03/2007 (DORMANT)
    Next Accounts Due: 31/01/2009
    Last Return Made Up To: 14/04/2008
    Next Return Due: 12/05/2009
    Last Members List: 14/04/2008

    Previous name Irco International Ltd.


    What on earth is going on here? By proceeding as they have been, Lord Jafari and his supporters (whoever they are) have upset people. With ever fewer pieces of green space, what is left becomes increasingly precious, and anyone interfering with trees and plants is bound to have everyone asking what’s going on. Residents and protest groups get very vocal and protective of local wildlife, wanting it to be left in peace. They have seen off many a corporation over the years. I’ve no doubt that the public will naturally be taking an ever closer interest in those who wish to disturb the woods. I wouldn’t be surprised if reporters, investigative journalists, and who knows who else start looking into all these activities to check what is really going on behind all this web.

    Contrary to “truth hurts” / “Katrina”, “Desrine” and “IconPark” wildlife has been evolving for 3 billion years before humans came along, and doesn’t need us interfering with it. Since the 1947 Planning Act it has not been the case that a landowner may do whatever they like with a piece of land. Various other interests must, by law, be taken into consideration. Perhaps the best thing that could happen now in already overcrowded and overdeveloped Bristol is for open and reasonable consultation to take place between the landowner, wildlife interests, and local people, to ensure that the site can be managed beneficially for all concerned.

  12. Adam says:


    I find your comments interesting.

    Firstly, I think it necessary to take issue with attaching the adjective “poor” to Mr Jafari – the fact that he owns property where he does strongly implies that he is anything but.

    I accept that, in principle, it could have been possible for the members of the various action groups and agencies mentioned to purchase the land – not everyone however knew of the sale in the first place. We live in times where property changes hands all too frequently, and with the best will in the world, it is not possible for members of the public to keep their eyes open for every land sale that could threaten wildlife habitat. In addition to this, few people would regard £39,000 as a small sum – if you regard it as such, might I refer you to the paragraph above?

    It may be doubted however whether the land could be regarded as a good investment. Ever since the Town and Country Planning Act (1947) was passed, more than half a century ago now, such a plot of land could only be seen as a poor investment. This is doubtless why the land sold for the grand sum of £39,000, even in today’s frantic economic climate. Given the obstacles that would be apparent to an experienced investor, I would venture to suggest that Mr Jafari paid too much; an investor with a keen knowledge and understanding of the Town and Country Planning Act may well have taken a quick glance – before running.

    Speculations are naturally running wild regarding the plans Mr Jafari has for the land he has purchased – I would suggest that he has not helped this situation with his idea for a deer park (not more deer please, numbers are high enough as it is), and now, the latest musings promoted on the Evening Post website by someone calling themselves “John Mair” (J.M. Veritas?), of a naturist resort!?

    It could be best for Mr Jafari / Mr Mair / Mr Veritas to sit down and have a long, hard think about the most sensible course to action to take, bearing in mind the situation in which he now finds himself. Time does not run backwards, but, by taking a careful stock of the situation, the landowner may still be able to minimise his misfortune.

    I agree that some of the comments regarding Mr Jafari lack taste, unfortunately however, human nature being what it is, this is only to be expected when people have been angered, and passions are running high – maybe he should be thankful that he isn’t Gordon Brown.

    Sadly, on your points regarding the City Council I can do nothing but agree with you – however, I cannot understand how they are relevant to this case.

  13. Adam – well said!
    Chav – Yes, it’s quite confusing so I hope this helps. Perhaps this confusion is designed?

    Application: 99/03281/VC
    Date: 09/11/1999
    Works to Trees in Conservation Areas was withdrawn by the NHS.

    Application: 99/03242/F
    Date: 09/02/2000
    Full Planning granted to the Riverside Unit site.

    Application: 08/02173/VC
    Decision date: 02/07/2008
    Status: Pending Consideration
    Works to Trees in Conservation Areas (Fell Sycamore, Ash, Lime, Beech, Cherry and an Elm trees situated on boundary with road).
    Case Officer: Jon Bown

    We currently think the new landowner (who goes by different names and companies) might be clearing Grove Wood for sale onto UWE in order to make a profit or is indeed developing the site, possibly for use by any increased student population (e.g. the rumours of a spa).

    Grove Wood adjoins the Riverside Unit at Blackberry Hill Hospital which is surplus land belonging to the North Bristol NHS Trust. UWE are interested in acquiring this land for student accommodation, training/conference facilities etc, given the proximity of the site to its Glenside campus. This is endorsed by the Government’s target of 200,000 new homes on surplus public sector land by 2016, as managed by English Partnerships. North Bristol NHS Trust will only sell the land if it can reach its full market potential value.

    Clearly, any residential or urban development of the area would require Grove Wood to fall within health and safety regulations. This could be why the tree clearance is currently focusing upon dead wood and the Council have exempted the landowner from replacing any of the trees. The new landowner has already cleared the young trees (9cm in diameter) that should have been protected in order to replace the existing trees. This goes against the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, especially for a conservation area! Interestingly, one of the new landowner’s company aliases is ‘Urban Creation Group PLC’.

    Read the NHS letter:

  14. redzone says:

    various confusing identities & plans seem to be emerging.
    any building development on this site would be totally out of place & unacceptable to the overall surroundings.
    transparency & clarity is needed, but with bcc, thats pretty hopeful!!

  15. dryad says:

    I have heard from the Vice Chancellor’s own lips that UWE is looking to offload Glenside & St Matthias campuses as they are so expensive to maintain & bring into DDA compliance. The 5-10 year plan is to move all Health/Social Care students up to Frenchay main campus, depending on whether land can be acquired from Hewlett Packard for building. The only reason they might still be interested would be for student accommodation, but the buildings are still covered by the conservation order which makes them very expensive.

  16. A public notice has appeared to fell some truly magnificent trees along with several others at Grove Wood, situated along the boundary with Blackberry Hill. Whilst it could be argued these are potentially dangerous, many people would prefer these to be thinned and protected with Tree Preservation Orders as they are beautiful specimens of very mature trees. You can lodge your objection to the planning application below and we strongly urge you to get agencies outside the Council involved with this.

    Application: 08/02173/VC
    Decision date: 02/07/2008
    Status: Pending Consideration
    Works to Trees in Conservation Areas (Fell Sycamore, Ash, Lime, Beech, Cherry and an Elm trees situated on boundary with road).
    Case Officer: Jon Bown

  17. Dave says:

    Having worked in a previous job with a relation of Lord Jafari (possibly a son, I forget now), I can assure you that he is most definitely well off. Was definitely surprised to see the name here.

    I seem to remember some stories about investigation from US security services over purchase of spectrometers?

    And yes, he is Iranian.

  18. Pete says:

    If you go down to the woods today….
    What is going on? This is all very strange.

    On Saturday, walking the dog from the Laundry field through Grove Wood along the “top path”, I was accosted by a polite but firm though slightly intimidating “watchmen” (pork pie hat, wrap round mirror sun glasses) and helper (didn’t say much, attending to the fire built across the path) who informed me that the path I was on was not a public right of way. Having used the path regularly for over 10 years I contested this but was told that he was not going to argue, but…. He said that barriers would be erected to block off the path and I was not to use it as this would be trespassing. I begged to differ but did not argue further and continued on the marked foot path along the river side back through Grove Wood. A look at the OS map later shows the marked and acknowledged public right of way along the river and also, clearly marked, the “top path”. This path is not registered as a public right of way however does meet the criteria for becoming one through prolonged use etc. Also, about 5 years ago, someone (previous land owner?) installed steps between the top and bottom paths thereby acknowledging the top path existence and actually encouraging its use as a PRW.

    Those who know it and love to walk through this quiet and beautiful wood should register it using a Public Right of Way Evidence Form (details below).

    Now to the point of my story. Why is this top path so vital that it requires a guard to hang around on a Saturday warning people off (not Sunday though – he probably had a late Saturday night bouncing at a club)? My own answer to this is that the “top path” bisects the piece of land pretty much down the middle and follows the less steep parts through the wood – the useable parts.
    The marked foot path follows the river edge and they can do nothing about anyway (PRW and flood risk!) however the top path, if it were a public right of way, would pretty much scupper any plans to use the land for development or anything else that conflicts with people walking through a still (for now ) glorious wood. It’s also strange that during the initial bulldozing of the site, the top path was considerably widened by the current owner for several hundred yards. Why? Along the path, drainage has been surveyed and marked. I wonder if the deer need sewer services?

    A factor that makes living bearable in this increasingly bad tempered and overdeveloped city is green space such as this. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Still, maybe I’m over reacting; maybe someone out there knows the real, good reason?

    Katrina, I have never seen the used condoms/needles you mention but can I encourage you to step away from the road a bit and take a walk through Grove Wood with your children and dog and show them nature on their door step? It’s not nearly as scary as you believe.

    If you know and have used the top path, please register it as a public right of way. Get a Public Right of Way Evidence Form, ref BCC LA09055L from:

    Public Rights of Way Officer
    Traffic Management,
    Dept of Planning, Transport and Sustainable Development
    Bristol City Council 4th Floor, Wilder House, Wilder Street
    Bristol BS2 8PH

  19. Pete – Yes, the woods above the river provide valuable ancient woodland with some pretty spectacular views once you’re up high. We urge more people to start using them and perhaps start a weekly local walking group. Green spaces like Grove Wood define the very beauty of this great city and offers a lifestyle that includes nature. It is truly amazing that within such proximity of a city centre you can feel a sense of wilderness, as opposed the highly managed park variety. Having also recently walked the wood, there appear to be very few dead trees marked for felling so we really must question what the new owner intends to do with the land.

    1. Why bother felling these trees at all as they pose no apparent threat to people and do not appear to be diseased in any way?
    2. Why not leave them to die naturally in order to provide wildlife habitat and allow the wood’s own sustainability?
    3. Is this another Council work creation exercise?

  20. Here is a visual documentation of the ongoing destruction of the wood and its wildlife:
    ERROR: transcription of letter above refers to application 08/00661/VD, not 08/02173/VC

  21. Here are the different ways you can help the campaign to protect this conservation area.

    Sign the petition to save Grove Wood and pass it on:

    Object to planning application 08/02173/VC to fell the historic tree-lined roadside of Blackberry Hill:

    Keep up to date with the latest information here:

    Thank you for your time and concern.

  22. john says:

    the bnp is doing a great job and should be helped all the way !!!!!!!!!!!!
    british jobs for british workers !!!
    go on bnp !!!!!
    keep going for the good of briton !!
    we will back you !!!!!!!!

  23. Get Real says:

    John, I think you must of posted on the wrong blog? What has this got to do with saving an ancient woodland from slow destruction? Or is it another silly attempt of a wind-up?

  24. Halcyon says:

    Grove Wood is currently enjoyed by everyone regardless of race, creed, colour, religion or indeed species.

    I think this campaign is all about protecting this amazing woodland for everyone. The people involved are motivated by people who care about nature, the environment and the rights of people to continue to enjoy an area they have had access to for generations.

    Luckily most people see through daft comments like John’s, but I think it is important that the motivation for this campaign is made very clear and it is not smeared by allegations of racism of any form.

  25. woodnymph says:

    Halcyon is right – the BNP rant is a complete red herring (a species not, incidentally, seen in Grove Wood).
    This wood needs to be saved to send a message to those after profits and self aggrandisement, that there are more important things in the world than their egos and their wallets.

  26. Save Grove Wood – Protest, Friday 4th July 3.45pm
    Meet in Snuff Mills car park at 3.30pm.

    Grove Wood is the ancient woodland at Snuff Mills which lies between the River Frome and Blackberry Hill Hospital.
    All the trees along the Blackberry Hill roadside are at threat from felling, despite being in a conservation area.
    The habitat is home to protected species including bats, otters and kingfishers.
    The Evening Post will be there.
    There is a public footpath just south of the bridge.
    Please bring banners and cameras to record the event.
    Suggestions for wording: Save Grove Wood; Save the Wildlife; Save Our Trees; Save this Conservation Area!

    Snuff Mills Action Group

    Visual record of the destruction of Grove Wood

    Sign the Online Petition

  27. CHANGE OF DATE – Save Grove Wood Protest

    This will now take place on Monday 7th July at 5.30pm (at the wood) to enable the Evening Post to attend.
    Meet in Snuff Mills car park at 5.15pm.

    Grove Wood is the ancient woodland at Snuff Mills which lies between the River Frome and Blackberry Hill Hospital.
    All the trees along the Blackberry Hill roadside are at threat from felling, despite being in a conservation area.
    The habitat is home to protected species including bats, otters and kingfishers.
    The Evening Post will be there.
    Please bring banners and cameras to record the event.
    Suggestions for wording: Save Grove Wood; Save the Wildlife; Save Our Trees; Save this Conservation Area!

    Snuff Mills Action Group

    Visual record of the destruction of Grove Wood

    Sign the Online Petition

  28. Get Real says:

    Well done!
    Never reveal your plans in such a public way especially when you know people who oppose what the campaign is trying to do read this blog! Not a very clever idea.

    Monday 7th July at 5.30pm

    The Council have decided to allow the felling of more trees in Grove Wood, against the public’s requests for Tree Preservation Orders (see below). This simply would not happen in other Councils! This affects the magnificent giants bordering the Blackberry Hill roadside. It’s hard to imagine this conservation area without them, let alone the impact upon wildlife and the reduction of air quality.

    There will be a PEACEFUL and LEGAL protest to demonstrate our opposition to the continued destruction of Grove Wood. This is important to maintain the credibility of the campaign and will be more effective if lots of people come. Please join us on Monday 7th July at 5.30pm in Snuff Mills car park. We will then walk in silence to Grove Wood in the manner of a funeral procession.

    If you can make a banner and wear your most solemn clothes that would be great. Suggestions for wording might include: Save Grove Wood; Save the Wildlife; Stop Killing Trees; Protect this Conservation Area! Please also bring cameras to record the event. If people of all ages can come that would make for a really great protest, so please bring your friends and family. The Evening Post and possibly other news agencies will be reporting on the protest.

    See Planning Application – 08/02173/VC

  30. w00dnymph says:

    Hope to see plenty of you bloggers at the event later today…let’s see this developer off with a flea in his ear!

  31. Get Real says:

    What a fantastic Protest! Over 250 people turned out in the rain to show support.

    A rather fed up looking Mr Jafari was seen at appox 7.15pm this evening removing banners and placards.

    The fight will go on!

  32. Anon says:

    If anyone would like to speak to Mr Jafari to congratulate him on winning council backing or send him letters of support then heres how to do it:
    H Jafari-Najafabadi
    Tel: (0117) 968 5685
    19 Downleaze, Stoke Bishop, Bristol, BS9 1LT

  33. Get Real says:

    There is a fantastic article about the protest in todays evening post.

    It is good to see so much support and concern about the future of the wood.

  34. On the 11th of July the landowner started fencing off Grove Wood which has been open to the public for generations. This completely ruins the character of the area, along with the large portocabin. Surely the Council must now enforce the conservation status of this land to avoid this situation getting out of control. Photos & news here:

  35. woodnymph says:

    The fence is a hideous eyesore, to add to the horrible container already in place. Every single act by this individual has devalued and despoiled the wood. How can BCC stand by and allow this? It is a CONSERVATION area – the clue is in the name…

  36. Get Real says:

    The Snuff Mills Action Group are being blamed by Mr Jafari for the pointless vandalism of the temporary fencing he has erected. I would like to assure people it is not the actions of the group. It seems some individual or persons not connected with the group have been carrying out these actions. I want this woodland to be preserved for future generations, whoever is doing the vandalism is just indirectly helping Mr Jafari.


    Hi folks,
    Google does let you see the big picture! We have a proposed big residential development on the waterfront in Glasgow where one of the directors and shareholders of the company that owns the land is “Lord Houshang Jafari Najafabadi” and the company secretary is “John David Mair”. Surely some connection?

  38. woodnymph says:

    Yes – John Mair is Jafari’s agent aka John Mair Veritas – if indeed they are two people. there is some doubt that they are separate individuals, Jafari has obfuscated over who is who. He has now been pretty thoroughly outed in the Bristol area, and no longer hides behind other names. He has lots of planning violations against him and is much disliked by those living in the vicinity of his vandalism.


    We are about to loose many of the roadside trees at Blackberry Hill, opposite Frome Terrace. This well known and beloved viewpoint captures the very essence of this conservation area. Like much of Bristol this entails wood lined river gorges, let alone the distinctive pennant stone architecture. However, the Council have given permission for these iconic trees to be felled in planning application 08/02173/DC.

    Whoever fells these trees is guilty of not only destroying the immediate area but also the very character of Bristol. If you are the tree surgeon approached by the landowner please weigh up the environmental and moral values against any financial gain and consider whether these trees would be better pruned rather than chopped down. There is also currently an official complaint against the Council regarding undemocratic procedures and possible maladministration. If there is enough continued public support these trees will be saved.

    Please inform environmental bodies, news agencies and campaign groups who operate within the law and let’s get this ridiculous decision overturned before we loose a very important nature haven. It is common knowledge that bats roost in these trees but a proper investigation has still not been conducted. An independent CAVAT assessment valued these trees at over £640,000 – far exceeding the purchase of Grove Wood (£39,000).


    1. Please write to the Council tree officers (Jon Bown and Richard Ennion), the planning officer (Adam Phelps) and Julie Seaton (Head of South and East Planning) to request a formal CAVAT assessment so that any destruction of these trees can be enforced with tree planting elsewhere in the area.
    2. Inform your local councillor (or MP) that you are unhappy the planning process was not dealt with at the appropriate level (i.e. at committee) as is usual for such important conservation areas.
    3. Could any official environmental agencies, wildlife protection and campaign groups who operate legally get in contact with the Snuff Mills Action Group in order to offer your support.

    See more details and photographs:


    Social & Environmental
    1. Symbolise a community focal point which provides high amenity and aesthetic value as well as historical continuity to this conservation area.
    2. Provide habitats for a broad range of wildlife (large and small) throughout the year, particularly bats and owls.
    3. Work all year round for us by reducing localised extremes in temperatures – cooling in the summer and warming in the winter.
    4. Perform many hydrological functions, especially helping drain the soil by absorbing water run-off through their root systems and returning it to the atmosphere via leaf perspiration.
    5. Provide a sense of wellbeing and place for hundreds of Bristol residents and people from neighbouring districts, including a high amenity value for families.
    6. Mark the changing seasons with leaf colours and floral displays.
    7. Tree canopies provide necessary shelter during rain.

    Health & Well Being
    8. Our stress and illness levels are lowered as the trees provide a sense of well being and psychological refreshment from neighbouring urban environments and the nearby city centre.
    9. As mature trees, they create character and a sense of place whilst also releasing scents and aromas that create a positive emotional response.
    10. As well as cleaning the air by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, they absorb and reduce pollutant gasses including ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
    11. Contribute to lower dust and noise levels.
    12. Reduce the risk of skin cancers by providing shade from harmful ultra-violet radiation.

    Highway Safety
    13. As roadside trees, they reduce the risk of accidents – preventing surface glare by shading the road after rainfall and reducing skidding as frost, ice and dew are less common under trees.
    14. Large leaf canopies catch rainfall which slows down the water’s progress from sky to ground, thus helping to reduce flash flooding.
    15. Reduce road rage by offering a more pleasant driving experience.

    Economic & Climate Change
    16. Increase property prices – the presence of trees can increase the value of residential and commercial property by 5-18%.
    17. Reduce fossil fuel emissions by lowering fuel costs for heating and cooling local buildings.
    18. Offer employment through woodland management and all aspects of forestry.

  40. Get Real says:

    What on earth is wrong with Bristol City Council? All they seem to do is make excuses for their bad judgements. For god’s sake, Grove Wood is in a Conservation Area and the Blackberry Hill trees are next to a prominent road and must be seen by thousands of people every day.

    Yet they refuse to admit their bad judgement and seem to be making excuses for not using the CAVAT system as presented by Snuff Mills Action Group. See this link.


    This makes me wonder who Bristol City Council is working for. Not the residents of Stapleton or the many thousands of people who enjoy coming to Snuff Mills from all over the city and elsewhere.

  41. biker says:

    BCC officers have no idea of democracy. The council tax payers have no say in anything that might affect them, apparently. Councillors seem to be powerless to stop them abusing their powers and doing as they please, feathering their own nests with impunity, and then responding indignantly to criticism. What a joke!

  42. BristolPatriot says:

    My feelings are the sooner the council’s constitution is altered after a party gains full and total control of the council the better.

  43. The landowner (Mr Jafari, who calls himself a Lord – LOL! – see details above of all his different name and company aliases), the Council’s tree officer (Jon Bown) and other official looking people have been seen in the wood this week (last week of August 2008).

    They are likely to be planning how precisely to fell the trees at Blackberry Hill as the official nesting season is coming to a close. We think it’s now time to stop the landowner and get the Council’s decision overturned, regardless of the planning application (08/02173/DC). Aside from the highly dubious disregard for the public amenity of these trees, their destruction will mean us loosing some real benefits (see information on links below) as well as the increased risk of flooding as they will cease to draw the surface run-off or block the rainfall to the ground. Is the Environment Agency aware of this?

    We also need The Highways Agency to seriously consider their loss from a road safety issue. For some bizarre reason they got involved just after the wood fell into the private ownership of Mr Jafari who is known by many throughout Bristol as a rogue developer. They haven’t bothered about the overhanging branches for decades, so why now? Are there plans for a future development?

    Unless something radical (but legal, please) is done soon we are going to loose numerous healthy and mature trees which form a miniature wood in themselves and contribute to many people’s quality of life – not just the local community.


  44. biker says:

    Word has it Jafari owns a car clamping business – doesn’t that just say it all? Tree climbing , anyone?

  45. biker –
    …or even Wood Camp! Maybe some of those hit by repossession could start something. I’m sure the local community would offer support of food and essentials.

    Next Protest – Wed 17th September 2008
    College Green, Council House 1.30pm

    Please join us for this protest as this is a great opportunity to show the Council how many people want Grove Wood in safe hands as it is on the same day as councillors are finally discussing the future of the wood and the destruction by the landowner. Bring banners and dress in tree colours if you can.

    The strength of this campaign is its fight for democracy so please, please keep your demonstrating legal and peaceful in order to maintain the hard work to date.

    Let’s hope the sun shines. However, if it rains there are a few trees for shelter but don’t forget your umbrella in case there is not enough room under the canopy!

    Thanks 🙂

    p.s. Aren’t trees great!

  47. Des Bowring says:

    I wish I could be there guys, but I won’t be able to make it. Hope everything goes well.


  48. Get Real says:

    The protest urgently needs peoples support.

    Please try and come for just half an hour in your lunch break to show support for the campaign.

  49. Some Easton tree-lovers aim to be there in solidarity too.

  50. Today, the South & East Planning Committee claimed Grove Wood is the remit of The Forestry Commission for granting a TPO – clearly trying to back out of their responsibility for protecting the woodland and the area’s conservation status. They have, as we know too well, already issued retrospective planning permissions to the landowner (‘Lord’ Jafari; see above for his various disguises!), including the one exempting him from replanting the trees he destroyed in January 2008.

    1. Actually, Councils have a legal duty to protect trees within their administration, but if you can get a TPO out of this city’s tree department then you can get blood out of a stone!

    2. This Council are completely aware of this Jafari’s activities in Bristol and are clearly allowing one person to annoy local communities and destroy our city’s character. Is this what you want from your local administration?

    3. As well as the Council granting the area conservation status in 1972, they are not adhering to their own local policies.

    4. Perhaps the Council could hand over responsibility for all the city’s woodland to the Forestry Commission as they’d make a far better job of it!

    Tuesday 14th October
    Council House 5.30pm to 6.00pm.

    All previous protests were designed to build up to this event in the hope of making a real impact. This is the best time to show your strength of feeling, particularly if you signed the petition which is being presented to the full council meeting at 6.00pm, which you can also attend.

    Please blog this invitation far and wide

  52. Gypsy says:

    Anyone want a load of metal mesh fence panels? There is a large number of them just lying around in Grove Wood. They’d be much better employed by someone who actually wanted to fence something off rather than someone who just wants to just piss people off!

  53. Gary Hopkins says:

    I think that there is now at last a good chance of real protection. A very good presence outside the council house and in the public gallery followed by some very effective statements and a short emergency debate called by Steve Comer forced the issue.
    The only fly in the ointment is that technical difficuilties have led to the webcast failing. The most unfortunate of timing with so many good issues raised by the public.

  54. Until the webcast appears, people can read the public statements here:

    The offer of a meeting between local residents, the landowner, local members (SMAG and Parks?) and relevant officers is very welcome but there is still the very immediate need for the Council to take action to protect the wood, the public amenity and the wildlife as they should have done already. Officers already have the power to impose a Tree Preservation Order (under the Town & Country Act 1990 and Tree Regulations 1999) and have had several clear reasons to do this (primarily the massacre of trees in January 2008) so there’s actually no need to debate this particular element or waste any more time! If the meeting becomes another greenwash people should then be prepared to take the matter to the Secretary of State and the Ombudsman if a satisfactory outcome is not reached soon.

    Details of the destruction here:
    Details of the value of the area here:

  55. Pingback: Save Grove Wood! « The Bristol Blogger

  56. bizar says:

    acuse mi englis
    thousands of peoplo babees are dyin in Iraq, yet yo oll worey aboot som treez
    wht is my world abuot

  57. christian says:

    yeah i will def sign that petition; pity about all the spam, or pointless comments as in above!

  58. BristolPatriot says:

    Mr.Hopkins very unfortuanate timing that but im not surprised. Im sure there are those within council would sooner not have had the debate broadcast

  59. Gary Hopkins says:

    I think it was cock up rather than conspiracy but we may be back to do it all again as the promises made by Cllrs. Hammond and Bradshaw have failed ,as anticipated to produce results and the wood is still under threat.
    I am sure though trhat you are right that they want it swept under the carpet.

  60. Get Real says:

    The council need to get their skates on and stop pussy footing around the issue of Grove Wood. Mr Jafari has done nothing to look after this wood other than drag some very large tree trunks out of the river bank which now makes the place look even more untidy. The fallen fencing makes the place look like Steptoe’s yard. I am starting to lose patience with the inefficiency of Bristol City Council. They say they care and then do bugger all.
    What are they scared of?
    It’s the bird nesting season coming up soon and there is still no sign of the public foot path being cleared.

  61. BristolPatriot says:

    Cock up! by convienience.
    It is never surprising be it Conservative or Labour . They both try to shy away from what the good people of Bristol want.

    If it cant be hidden undewr the carpet clock in a cupboard and lost ,As sure as eggs are eggs they role out their hidden Labour supporters to attempt to deflate the true wishes of the good people of Bristol.

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