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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 22/05/2007
Trees, Hedges, Gardens & Fences in the Conservation Area

Trees, hedges, gardens and fences in the Conservation Area:
An opportunity for Enhancement.

In starting the review the importance of planning a sustainable long-term approach to the Conservation Areas was stressed. The cycle of planting, growth, management, felling and use of trees and hedges needs to be considered as a cycle of maintenance and renewal. Growing things can become disproportionate and overcrowded if we do not conserve the traditions of management of trees and hedges. They cannot be ‘embalmed’ like buildings.

The conservation area would benefit from a five level classification of trees and hedges so that Waverley and the Parish Council can cooperate to encourage owners to actively manage their trees and hedges. There should be no constraints on owners wishing to thin or fell where it will enhance the setting of the Conservation area as a whole. This needs to be combined with an active approach to planting where it will enhance the Conservation Area. The aim should be to steadily improve the setting of the Conservation Area over the next decade.

Rating the Importance to the Conservation Area of Trees and Hedges.

To develop a positive approach to trees in the Conservation area their merits need to be graded against a scale of their value to the setting.

Class 1. Important trees of distinction, which also contribute positively to the Conservation area and its views and landscape.

Class 2. Good trees which fit well into the overall setting and naturally form part of Conservation Area

Class 3. Unexceptional trees which detract from the Conservation Area, block important views or are damaging adjacent trees of merit.

Class 4. Overgrown, dangerous or unsightly trees, the removal of which would improve the setting and views.

Class 5. Spaces where new planting should be encouraged either to replace Class 4 trees or to fill gaps

When considering applications for work on a tree in the Conservation Area consideration needs to be given to:

- The condition and merit of the tree.
- Its contribution to the overall setting of the conservation area.
- Its relationship to and influence on the health and growth of adjacent trees
- Its potential effects on adjacent buildings by inducing settlement and/or risk of damage from falling branches or trunk.

It is noted that the 3inch rule, (Work on trees over 3”, 76mm diameter in a Conservation Area requires approval from Waverley) also applies to many hedges which have become seriously overgrown. The tree section contains a useful catalogue of trees, many of which are important features of the conservation area and merit sustaining for their natural life. Over the next decade this list should be developed into a Landscape Enhancement programme on which Owners, Waverley and the Parish Council can cooperate.

Particular importance needs to be given to developing a sustainable age structure to give continuity for the visually important types of trees. The shortage of young oaks of up to 60 years age is of particular concern. Selective felling and replanting can remedy it. The loss of some of the grander trees which were a feature of Victorian plantings in the grounds of larger houses in recent storms also needs a positive approach to replacement.

Gardens Hedges and Fences

Traditional gardens either ran to the road or had a low hedge or wall. These walls are specifically preserved as Conservation Area features but hedges fences and gardens get less attention but are essential in maintaining the character of the village centre. As similar grading for hedges is required to that for trees outlined above. The main objective is a return to the types, height, breadth and species of hedge traditionally maintained. The problem of the spread of 6ft high close boarded fencing and high Leylandii and Privet also needs to be tackled.

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