A HAVEN for endangered newts in Stonehouse is being trashed despite the efforts of concerned residents to get it cleaned up.

The conservation spot, a hideaway for the threatened Great Crested Newts, has become strewn with old lager cans, plastic bags and broken machinery.

Currently owned by developers Laing Homes, the land is set to pass into the care of Stonehouse Town Council but frustrated residents say neither party will take on the much-needed clean-up operation.

"It is becoming a dump," said resident Anthony Hall. "It looks a real eyesore and it is supposed to be a conservation area."

Neighbour Nick Pearse added: "It is crazy and lately the problem has got a lot worse. People are realising they can get away with it so they are chucking it over the fences." Neil Carmichael, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Stroud, has also given his backing to the residents' campaign.

"Too many regulations and bureaucratic processes sometimes stand in the way of necessary action to protect our environment," he told the SNJ.

Stonehouse Town Council chairman Mattie Ross said the council were anxious to see the situation resolved - but said she had beard nothing from Laing recently.

"We have been chasing Laing Homes for a long time because the land is still in their development," she said. "We are anxious to see it sorted but the conditions have got to be right."

Cllr Ross, who is also a district councillor for Stonehouse, said the area had already been visited by Stroud District Council anti-social behaviour boss Colin Peake to assess the problem caused by the fly-tippers

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Laing Homes indicated they were keen to meet with the town council to thrash out a deal after conducting a detailed survey of the site earlier this year.

"Once this meeting has taken place and any remaining works have been completed the land will be transferred to the Town Council with immediate effect," she said. "Laing is very sorry to learn the pond at Court View has not been maintained to suitable standards.

Laing Homes has invested large sums of money in order to protect and enhance the wildlife at this development and takes its role in protecting the areas it builds in very seriously.

She added: "We would like to assure all residents that this problem will be rectified with immediate effect."