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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Western Area Development Control Sub Committee held on 28/03/2001
OBJECTION TO TREE PRESERVATION ORDER 33/00 TREE AT NO. 10 THE WARREN, HEATH END, FARNHAM



The purpose of this report is to enable the Sub-Committee to consider objections to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) made in respect of a Wellingtonia at No.10 The Warren, Heath End, Farnham and to determine whether the Order should be confirmed.

The report has no direct resource implications, however, there are environmental benefits in retaining protected trees.
APPENDIX A

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

Western Area DEVELOPMENT CONTROL Sub-Committee -
28TH MARCH 2001

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Title:
OBJECTION TO TREE PRESERVATION ORDER 33/00
TREE AT NO.10 THE WARREN, HEATH END, FARNHAM

[Wards Affected: Farnham Hale & Heath End]
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Summary and Purpose

The purpose of this report is to enable the Sub-Committee to consider objections to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) made in respect of a Wellingtonia at No.10 The Warren, Heath End, Farnham and to determine whether the Order should be confirmed.

The report has no direct resource implications, however, there are environmental benefits in retaining protected trees.
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Introduction

1. The Warren is a cul-de-sac off Rowhills which is off Upper Weybourne Lane in North Farnham. The development was built approximately twenty years ago on a south east facing slope.

2. Although the area has a reasonable amount of tree cover (including several TPO's) The Warren itself contains a very limited number of trees of significance. The adjacent recreation ground contains a fair amount of trees but unfortunately many of these are reaching the end of their safe useful life expectancy.

3. Officers were alerted in December last year to plans by the owners of No.10 The Warren to remove one mature Wellingtonia from their garden. It was clear that this was one of the original trees on the site and that its retention and position in relation to the adjacent building had been considered at the planning stage. The tree is situated approximately six metres due west of the nearest corner of the garage and about eight metres from the dwelling itself. After inspection it was decided that the tree's removal would be detrimental to the locality and a Tree Preservation Order was duly made and served. A copy of the Order plan is attached at Annexe 1 and a photograph showing the tree is attached at Annexe 2.

4. Part of the reason for objecting was the procedure which was followed; namely that the Order was imposed prior to any notification to the owner. However, it will be recognised that advance notification of an intention to serve an Order could precipitate the felling of an unprotected tree.


5. The main relevant grounds of objection are as follows:
Officer's Response

6. Officers consider the tree to be of good shape and in good condition and having substantial amenity value. In terms of visibility, the tree forms part of the wooded backdrop of this elevated part of Farnham and as such impacts on the wider vicinity. More closely, the tree can be clearly seen from the Copse Avenue area and from the area near the junction between Farnborough Road and Upper Weybourne Lane. In addition, it is very visible to all residents of Rowhills and The Warren itself.

7. Although it is clear that trees such as Wellingtonia are normally found in either large gardens or a parkland setting, it is a matter of fact that with increased development. and infill of such areas, these trees end up in smaller, urban type properties. That in itself is not a problem and there are many examples throughout the district (notably around the Hillcrest apartments nearby) where significant trees are retained and preserved close to the developments permitted by this Authority. Barring obvious cases, whether a tree is too close to a property is a fairly subjective matter and also depends on issues such as size, stability, aspect and prevailing winds. In this particular case, officers, on balance, do not consider the tree to be too close.

8. Tree roots are mainly implicated in causing damage to properties where these are situated on clay soils and where due to moisture extraction a property may be affected by subsidence – in addition roots can cause unevenness and cracking in drives and block drains, particularly older ones which have gaps. Other services such as gas, are rarely disturbed and only then where they have been laid, for example, within a two to three metre radius of a tree, where the increase in girth of buttress roots may cause dislocation or cracking of rigid services.

9. The property is not situated on a clay soil and although there is a crack in one of the garage walls, this is unlikely to have been caused by the tree. In the same way it can not be substantiated that the disruption to the gas supply (now repaired) was caused by the tree's roots.

10. The ingress of roots into the drainage system was observed by the Officers as constituting mainly very small diameter fibrous roots into the upper brickwork of the inspection chambers. This can easily be dealt with as part of normal maintenance and is very common in situations affecting many properties even those where only shrubs are present. The disturbance of the drive is not excessive and is also a common feature which would, in itself, not justify tree removal.


11. The tree in question does not actually overhang any part of the house and in terms of shedding debris, this is not considered to be excessive and, again, would not normally be a ground for tree removal.

12. Whilst Wellingtonia is one of the taller tree species in this country it is also a species noted for its wind-firmness. The slight lean of the tree toward the house is in itself not a reason for concern and a detailed inspection of the basal area did not reveal any root or ground weakness or failure. The species is also not known for unacceptable branch shedding.

13. In the Officers’ opinion it would be possible to further reduce the even slight possibility of tree failure in extreme circumstances, by thinning out the crown. Such an operation would result in the crown being more open thus allowing the wind to blow through rather than against the tree. At the same time, such pruning would not affect the tree's appearance or long term health prospects.

14. Generally, the age or ability of property owners does not guide decisions on retention of worthwhile protected trees. Officers do not consider the tree's presence and the maintenance liability it poses to be so unusual as to be unacceptable. In addition Officers noted the owners remarks during their site visit of their wish to sell at some point and to move to a smaller property.

Human Rights Implications

15. In determining this application, the Council must have regard to the protection of human rights of the applicants and others affected by the decision.

16. The rights of the European Convention affected by the decision arise from

Article 8 - the right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence

Article 1 of the First Protocol - the right to enjoy possessions.

17. The decision recommended by officers, to confirm the Order, will interfere with the rights protected by those Articles. However, the interference is in accordance with law and may be balanced against the legitimate aims of Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol.

18. The objectives of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are met by including measures which allow for the protection of trees in the interests of others where they are regarded as having a public amenity value. The preservation of the Wellingtonia is necessary to preserve the visual amenity of the area by enhancing the Council’s control of works to the tree. The order is necessary in furthering the legitimate aims of the Development Plan. To confirm the Order does not place a disproportionate burden on the owner, who retains the right to make applications for works to the tree. in these circumstances the confirmation of the Order is not considered to be an unjustified interference with the Convention rights.


Conclusion

19. It is your officers’ view that the objections raised against the imposition of TPO 33/00 are either not substantiated or do not override the public amenity value presented by the tree. Officers consider that it is in the interests of the visual amenities of the area that the LPA should retain control over future works to such a prominent tree.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the TPO no 33/00, applying to T1: a Wellingtonia on land at No.10 The Warren, Heath End, Farnham be confirmed.
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Background Papers (BP & DM)

Letter of objection from Mr Balchin (5th January 2001)
Letter of objection from Charnwood Landscape Design Limited (5th January 2001).

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: A Spaarkogel Telephone: 01483 869390