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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Central Area Development Control Sub Committee held on 20/10/2004
OBJECTION TO TREE PRESERVATION ORDER (NO. 7/2004) –
SWEET CHESTNUT, THE LAURELS, GASDEN LANE, WITLEY



Summary & Purpose
To consider the objection to making a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and to determine whether the Order should be confirmed, with or without modification. The report has no direct resource implications. There are environmental benefits in retaining the trees which merit special protection.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
?
Negative
Negative


APPENDIX A
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

CENTRAL AREA DEVELOPMENT CONTROL SUB-COMMITTEE –
20TH OCTOBER 2004
_________________________________________________________________________
Title:
OBJECTION TO TREE PRESERVATION ORDER (NO. 7/2004) –
SWEET CHESTNUT, THE LAURELS, GASDEN LANE, WITLEY

[Wards Affected: Witley and Hambledon]
_________________________________________________________________________
Summary and purpose:

To consider the objection to making a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and to determine whether the Order should be confirmed, with or without modification. The report has no direct resource implications. There are environmental benefits in retaining the trees which merit special protection.
_________________________________________________________________________
Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe, Healthy and Active Communities
Local Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
?
No
No

E-Government implications:

The report has no direct E-Government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

Legal implications are covered in Sections 10 – 14 Human Rights Implications.

_________________________________________________________________________
Background

1. A planning application WA/04/0746 was deposited on 2nd April 2004 for the erection of extensions and alterations following demolition of an existing store at the property known as Colwyn, Gasden Lane, Witley.

2. The above planning application was refused on 25th May 2004. The reason for refusal given by the Local Planning Authority was that the proposal would result in operations likely to threaten the health and stability of a tree and result in an unacceptable juxtaposition, which over time, is likely to result in pressure to lop or fell the tree. This is considered contrary to Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan Policy D4, D6 and D7.
3. The tree referred to in the reasons for refusal is located off site to the west boundary of the application site within the neighbouring property known as The Laurels.

4. The site does not lie within a Conservation Area nor is subject to other designations that provide statutory protection to the Sweet Chestnut.

Introduction

5. TPO 7/2004 was served on 14th May 2004. The Order has been made in recognition of the tree’s contribution to the appearance of the area and visual amenity within the local and wider landscape. The purpose of the ‘Order’ is to deter indiscriminate removal following refusal of the planning application.

6. The new Order is made in respect of an individual tree located within The Laurels, Gasden Lane, Witley and is identified as T1 – Sweet Chestnut (see plan to Annexe 1 to this report).

7. One objection has been received against this Order. This is from Mr S Fotheringham, who is the owner of the adjacent property known as Colwyn and applicant of planning application WA04/0746. The objector states that TPO 7/2004 does not satisfy any of the criteria required by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, is a danger and that the tree is inappropriate for the position.

Officers’ Response

8. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 places a duty on the Local Planning Authority that ‘if it appears expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area’. The Act does not define ‘amenity’, however, it is generally accepted that this appears to mean ‘the quality of being pleasant or agreeable’. Local Planning Authorities should be able to show that a reasonable degree of public benefit would accrue before a TPO is made or confirmed.

9. The appearance of Gasden Lane and local surroundings is verdant with occasional mature individual trees breaking the skyline above residential properties. To the road frontage various trees and hedges mark the boundary between the adopted highway and the residential properties including fir, cypress, hazel, beech and oak.

10. The Sweet Chestnut is set back from the lane by 30 m and it is considered that the tree contributes to the sylvan structure of the local landscape by its size and form. The tree is visible from Keswick Road and Gasden Lane and on the outlook by residents from surrounding rear gardens.

11. Whilst it is concluded that visibility of the tree on the approach along Gasden Lane is filtered on oblique views, that view is partly filtered by ubiquitous Cypress species, which are considered to have limited value and longevity. If removed in future, views of the Sweet Chestnut would increase.

12. Equally, it is important to recognise that the visual appearance of an area is not reliant on each tree being wholly visible from every position, but by its contribution and presence within the overall depth of composition. This landscape function can range from being of individual prominence to providing collective merit, forming a verdant backdrop or breaking the skyline above a roofscape.

13. It is therefore the officers’ opinion that the tree accrues public visual amenity and contributes positively to the appearance of the area.

14. The tree appears to be of fair health and condition with to date, limited previous tree works and has remained in harmony with its surroundings for a number of decades.

15. Responsibility and management for ensuring the health and safety of the trees subject to a TPO remains with the owner of the land. The presence of deadwood within a tree’s crown is a natural occurrence and does not necessarily indicate that a tree is dead, dying or dangerous. The removal of dead/dying or dangerous trees may be carried out at any time under exemption to the TPO as can the removal of deadwood or defective branches from the crown. However, in the case of works carried out under this exemption five days notice is requested by the Local Planning Authority prior to commencement of works.

16. The objective of a TPO is to encourage good arboricultural management and ensure works are carried out in accordance with best practice. Applications for consent for remedial works that accord with good arboricultural management would not be unreasonably withheld by the Local Planning Authority.

17. Turning to domestic matters and the amenity of occupants, the tree is located to the north west of the dwelling and therefore does not block direct sunlight to the property. Similarly, both leaf fall and husks are seasonal and whilst they may be considered inconvenient, they are a part of the natural life cycle of a tree. Removal of seasonal debris is considered part of normal annual maintenance of a property and does not outweigh the environmental and amenity benefits associated with mature trees.

Human Rights Implications

18. In deciding to confirm the Order, the Council must have regard to the protection of human rights of the owner, the objector and others affected by the decision.

19. The rights of the European Convention affected by the decision arise from:-

20. Both are relevant to the objection regarding trees on land within the objector’s ownership.

21. The decision recommended by officers to confirm the Order may interfere with the rights of the objector protected by those articles. However, the interference is in accordance with the law and justified in the public interest to protect trees that have an impact on the amenity of the area.

22. The objectives of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are met by including measures that allow for the protection of trees. The preservation of trees is necessary to preserve the visual amenity of the area. 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
Conclusion

23. It is your officers’ view that the objections raised against the imposition of Tree Preservation Order 7/2004 are not substantiated or do not override the public amenity value presented by these trees.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Tree Preservation Order 7/2004 applying to T1, The Laurels, Gasden Lane, Witley, be confirmed without modification.

________________________________________________________________________
Background Papers (DoPD)

Letter of objection from Mr S Fotheringham dated 4th June 2004
Letter of response from Waverley Borough Council’s Tree Officer dated 30th July 2004
Letter maintaining objection from Mr S Fotheringham dated 12th July 2004

________________________________________________________________________

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Alan Richardson Telephone: 01483 523309

E-mail: arichardson@waverley.gov.uk


comms/central/2004/2005/027 39906