Outcry as 10 trees under threat
PUBLISHED: 11:42 23 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:30 24 January 2020
Ten trees with preservation orders could be under threat if plans go ahead to extend a Woodbridge home.
Three pine and seven oak trees are in danger of getting the chop if East Suffolk Council approves an application to make way for a new study, enlarged utility room and car port.
The property, in Broomheath, is surrounded by small woodland and considered an integral part of the neighbouring habitat, including National Trust Land.
An arboricultural survey and report advised the removal of the trees to improve the amenity space and setting assuring that the removal of these trees will have no significant impact on the surroundings as the trees are in decay.
Nicholas Newton, arboriculture and landscape manager for East Suffolk Council, said: "The trees are the subject of an area designated Tree Preservation Order. That said, they have limited public amenity value and they also show varying degrees of suppression, unbalanced crowns, main stem decay in one of the oaks, and needle blight in one of the pines.
"Their removal will have minimal impact on surrounding views because of surrounding belts of trees, and overall I have no objections to their removal. The described ground protection in relation to part of the proposed building works is also acceptable. I have no objections to the proposal as a whole."
However people signed a petition against the plans at the Fridays for Future youth climate strike outside in November last year.
A total of 11 objections have been submitted to East Suffolk Council, including from Jane Healey of Transition Woodbridge who said: "They are looking to remove perfectly healthy trees simply to build an extension. A climate emergency has been declared by you and you should be looking very carefully at planning requests to cut down trees especially those with TPOs as they have special features."
Charlie Zakks said: "As a member of Transition Woodbridge, we have won immense support within the town, planting over 50 trees in the last six years. How can we look at children and teach them about planting new trees, when we are letting stunning trees such as these, be cut down?".
Resident Charlotte Leeder said: "These trees also play their part in the biodiversity of the area in Broomheath which has not been taken into account in the Tree Officers report. It is time to stop taking decisions to fell mature trees and take responsibility for the contribution ESC can make in mitigating climate change."
Councillor Rachel Smith-Lyte of the Green Party for Melton, said: "As a council, we have a duty and moral responsibility to our residents AND the natural environment to protect and enhance. If this felling were to go ahead it sends out a really poor message that this is acceptable, setting a dangerous and unacceptable precedent. It would also doubtless materially damage the Council's reputation and residents faith in us to do the right thing."
A spokesman for East Suffolk Council said: "Current legislation provides no reason to object to the removal of these particular trees. In this case, there are clear concerns about disease, risk of tree failure and overcrowding which are creating issues in their own right for the occupants of the site. These matters would need to be addressed anyway, in the interests of responsible woodland management and regardless of any planning proposals.
"The sustainable protection of trees is an important element of any planning decision, however this does not mean that all must be preserved regardless of circumstances."