A WEALTHY landowner who felled 13 acres of woodland is selling the plot he has all but destroyed.

James Hyatt sparked outrage earlier this year when he chopped down hundreds of protected trees at Pondtail Wood, near Hurstpierpoint.

An investigation was launched and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and the Forestry Commission (FC) slapped Mr Hyatt with enforcement notices requiring him to restore the 20 acres site.

Among the requirements are for him to replant more than 600 trees and care for the saplings for ten years after planting.

But in the last few days a Barnard Marcus board has appeared at the gates of the woods, notifying of an auction.

The auction is dated for September 12.

The Argus called Barnard Marcus for details but a spokeswoman said no further information would be available until two weeks before the sale.

My Hyatt bought the land for £100,000 in March.

The FC issued their replanting notice on May 25, calling on Mr Hyatt to replant the more than 600 trees by the end of April 2017.

The SDNPA enforcement notice followed in June calling on him to remove all deposited soils, waste and drainage channels so the ancient woodland soils can support replanted trees. He was given a deadline to start the work by tomorrow (August 23).

Mr Hyatt appealed the requirements in July - although it is still unclear on what grounds.

His appeal is yet to be heard.

Residents and environmental campaigners have spoken of their fears that Mr Hyatt will fail to fulfil his requirements to replant the trees with one describing it as "dodging justice".

A spokeswoman for the SDNPA explained that any requirements would be passed on to whoever bought the plot.

She said: "We are aware that a for sale sign went up last week, with an auction due to be held on September 12.

"The landowner is legally entitled to sell the property. The notices stay with the land and so will transfer to any new owner.

"The owner should declare the notices prior to any sale."

As no information has been provided on the auction, it is not yet clear if the requirements attached to the land will be fully advertised.

The Argus has attempted to contact Mr Hyatt on a number of occasions but he has not responded.