Agenda item


Report of the Strategic Director – Transformation.


The hearing was held in the absence of the objectors.


The Tree Preservation Order Review Officer (Mark Symonds) presented the case, explaining that this was part of the ongoing TPO Review.   The trees concerned had been covered by TPO 1987 No. 2 when the land had been sold by the Ministry of Defence to the developers, Wallsend Estates.  At that point, all trees on site had been covered by the TPO.  However, the recent re-survey of this area had identified specific trees or groups of trees - perceived as the best ones for the current site - to be of significant amenity value.  These were the ones now covered by TPO 2008 No. 99.


TPO 2008 No. 99 had been served upon 15 owners.  Mr and Mrs Blatcher of Hendon House had objected to the making of this Order, specifically with respect to two individual trees in their front garden.   T10 was a Siliver Birch and T11 was a Whitebeam. 


Photographic and map evidence was shown to the Committee.   Mr Symonds confirmed that the Silver Birch (T10) was a particularly dominant tree at the entrance to the estate.   It was reasonably close to the property but the main stem had had a branch raised at an early stage of growth.  The crown was well above the footpath and house entrance. 


The Whitebeam (T11) was nearer the roadside.  It had more naturally spreading growth and a multi-stemmed crown.   It was considered to be an attractive tree, valuable to birdlife as it produced berries.


Referring to the letter of objection received from Mr and Mrs Blatcher (dated 22 December 2008), Mr Symonds pointed out that it seemed that they were unaware of the original TPO which had indeed included trees T10 and T11.  The existence of this TPO should have been apparent during the Conveyancing process to the current owners.


Both trees had been assessed using the Council’s adopted TPO scoring system (details of which were attached to the Agenda documents) and had been found to fall within the suitability range. 


No evidence of actual damage had been submitted.  Also, the Silver Birch was noted for its dappled, rather than heavy, shade.   However, he felt that reasonable requests for help with remedial tree surgery should be considered favourably by the Council in the future, if it were felt that the trees were endangering buildings, the footpath, or the road itself.


There was some general discussion about the wider area covered by TPO 2008 No. 99.  Mr Symonds explained that while the original TPO had covered all trees, the recent review had considered it more practical to break them down into groups or individuals across the area.  This was partly for ease of reference and partly to allow for future thinning etc.  Both the Silver Birch and Whitebeam were native species which were widely considered to be suitable for urban locations as they have relatively minimal negative impact in terms of maintenance/deep shade or root invasion. 


The Silver Birch was estimated to be approximately 20-25 years old, with an estimated lifespan of 60 years.  It was acknowledged that its close proximity to the side of the property would mean that some form of tree surgery would be needed in the future.


As to the Whitebeam (T11), the photograph clearly showed that there was some encroachment over the road which would possibly cause problems with high-sided vehicles in the future.  However, it was felt that this could be resolved with selective pruning which would not have any impact on the lifespan of the tree.  This should be the responsibility of the owners of the property, unless rope/harness work was going to be involved (which usually applied to larger trees).  Mr Symonds confirmed that he would be happy to speak to the owners to advise them about this work if they wanted.<1>


RESOLVED that Tree Preservation Order No. 99 with respect to T10 and T11 be confirmed.


For the record, Mr Fanthorpe wanted it noted that he agreed with the TPO concerning T10, but not that for T11.



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