This application was for the felling of 1no. Monkey Puzzle tree and 3no. Pine trees on the site of 23 Wellington Road, Muxton, Telford, Shropshire.
The application was before Members at the request of Donnington & Muxton Parish Council.
Councillor L Dugmore spoke against the application on behalf of the Parish Council who raised concerns regarding the conditions from the previous three applications being ignored and damage had been caused to the trees which had caused them to be in a desperate state and dangerous. She felt approving the application was a reward for the applicant’s behaviour. Further concerns were also raised that enforcement hand not taken place and how could they be confident that action would be taken against the Developer for their flagrant disregard of planning consent.
The Planning Officer informed Members that a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) had been placed on four trees in 2018 in relation to the proposed development and following a compliance visit it was apparent from the condition of the trees that the conditions of the TPO had not been adhered to protective fencing had not been implemented and there had been soil interruption to the tree roots. The damage to the Pine trees had meant they had become unstable with dead wood present and the surrounding ground compacted. Long term stability of the trees was of concern. The Arboricultural Specialist had confirmed that the Monkey Puzzle tree had declined and the roots of the Pine trees had been damaged irrecoverably. The Council’s Tree Officer had confirmed that in the interest of safety and future amenity that the trees needed to be felled.
It was requested that consent was approved, subject to the conditions that trees were replaced in line with the Tree Officer recommendations of a 20-25cm girth and the submission of an aftercare management plan for five years in order for successful tree survival.
The Tree Officer commented that conditions were not adhered to and ground works, the storage of concrete blocks and changes to soil levels had all impacted the trees. In August this year there was some stem bleeding and honey fungus and it was a question of when the trees would come down. A power company had recently taken a chunk out of the Pine tree and it was suggested that these trees be removed and replaced with similar large trees.
During the debate some Members raised concerns regarding the state of the Monkey Puzzle tree as well as the Pine trees and felt that the Tree Officer had a better knowledge of the state of the trees and that they should be replaced with like for like trees with an aftercare plan in place in order to ensure that it was adhered to. Other Members felt concerned that the trees had been destroyed and asked what actions could be taken, whether the replacement trees would be semi mature and what conditions could be put in place. It was also asked if there was a timescale for action to be taken.
The Tree Officer confirmed that there were a number of factors involved with the TPO legislation and that if the TPO was not adhered to other agencies would follow this up and that TPOs were very important. The investigation was currently with the Legal Team. The damage to the trees was being monitored.
The Legal Advisor commented that there were investigations currently ongoing into the offences committed and it was difficult to estimate a time as this depended on the case being brought, but that this was not for consideration by Members
Upon being put to the vote it was, by a majority:-
RESOLVED – that delegated authority be granted to the Development Management Service Delivery Manager to grant Tree Preservation Order consent subject to the following:
a) The Condition(s) and Informative(s) (with authority to finalise Condition(s) to be delegated to Development Management Service Delivery Manager) contained within the report.