Venue: Lancaster Town Hall
Contact: Jane Glenton, Democratic Services: telephone (01524) 582068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Site Visits: Tree Preservation Orders No. 565 (2015) and No. 567 (2015)
Prior to commencement of the meeting, site visits were undertaken in response to objections received to two Tree Preservation Orders.
The following Members were present on the site visits:
Councillors Claire Cozler (Chairman), Joan Jackson, Terrie Metcalfe, Margaret Pattison, Roger Sherlock and Peter Yates.
Officers in Attendance:
Minutes of the meeting held on 18 February 2016 (previously circulated)
The minutes of the meeting held on 18th February 2016 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Items of Urgent Business authorised by the Chairman
There were no items of urgent business.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations by Members of interests in respect of items on this Agenda.
Members are reminded that, in accordance with the Localism Act 2011, they are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests which have not already been declared in the Council’s Register of Interests. (It is a criminal offence not to declare a disclosable pecuniary interest either in the Register or at the meeting.)
Whilst not a legal requirement, in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10 and in the interests of clarity and transparency, Members should declare any disclosable pecuniary interests, which they have already declared in the Register, at this point in the meeting.
In accordance with Part B, Section 2 of the Code of Conduct, Members are required to declare the existence and nature of any other interests, as defined in paragraphs 8(1) or 9(2) of the Code of Conduct.
There were no declarations of interest.
Report of the Chief Executive
The Committee received the report of the Chief Executive to enable Members to consider the objection received to Tree Preservation Order No. 565 (2015) relating to an area of trees established on land adjacent to Ashton Road, Lancaster, and thereafter whether or not to confirm the Order.
It was reported that the Council had made Tree Preservation Order No. 565 (2015) on 20th October 2015, following land adjacent to Ashton Road, Lancaster being identified for potential development by Story Homes. The trees within the site had been unprotected and, in the opinion of the Tree Protection Officer, threatened by potential development. The trees included a group of ash (G1) and two woodland compartments comprising a range of tree species identified as W1 and W2.
One letter of objection had been received to Tree Preservation Order No. 565 (2015) from Barton Willmore, Planning Consultants, acting on behalf of the Appellant, Story Homes.
In determining whether or not to confirm the Tree Preservation Order, Members heard representations from Joshua Corbett of Urban Green, who had prepared an Arboricultural Impact Assessment for Story Homes, and a response from the Tree Protection Officer.
The Appellant’s representative presented the case on behalf of Story Homes and advised Members that an assessment of the quantity and quality of existing trees located on and near to the application site had been carried out by Urban Green through the Arboricultural Impact Assessment. Groups of trees had been identified according to their character, quality or role in defining the site and its features.
It was reported that Story Homes’ objection to Tree Preservation Order No. 565 (2015) was that the submitted planning application would not result in the loss of any trees of quality or value in or around the site. Not all of the area identified within the Tree Preservation Order was necessary for inclusion to safeguard the existing tree belt along Lancaster Canal for reasons of amenity, wildlife or quality, as outlined by the Local Planning Authority in the Tree Preservation Order. Story Homes believed that if a Tree Preservation Order was necessary (to which they disagreed), the areas defined as G56, T43 and G44 within the Arboricultural Impact Assessment should be omitted.
The Appellant’s representative advised that the proposed development would not have a detrimental effect on existing trees on or near to the site. An adequate buffer would be provided between the proposed development and trees, and root protection areas would be identified for those trees which defined the character of the site and its surroundings. An Arboricultural Method Statement had been submitted as part of the outline application, and any works would be carried out in compliance with this.
The area defined as G56 was a group of early mature hawthorn trees, which were situated in a raised bund and acted as a buffer between the larger trees adjacent to the Canal. G56 had been identified as being distinctly different and of slightly less value to the remainder of the woodland ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Report of the Chief Executive
The Committee received the report of the Chief Executive to enable Members to consider the objections received to Tree Preservation Order No. 567 (2015) relating to a woodland area known as Long Plantation, established within Ashton Hall Estate, Off Ashton Road, Lancaster, and thereafter whether or not to confirm the Order.
It was reported that the Council had made Tree Preservation Order No. 565 (2015) on 29th October 2015, following an assessment of trees and potential threats. Trees within the site were unprotected. Works had been completed in relation to Felling Licence No. 010/20/10-11, issued by the Forestry Commission in January 2011. Trees had been removed to create a clearing within the woodland, and all associated tree stumps dug out and removed. An informal access track had been created into the woodland to the northern aspect. Any future intentions for the site were unclear.
Two letters of objection had been received to Tree Preservation Order No. 567 (2015) from Mr. Roger Clark of Stodday Land Limited, and Mrs. Sarah Clark of Ripway Properties Ltd.
In determining whether or not to confirm the Tree Preservation Order, Members heard representations from Mr. Roger Clark and Mrs. Sarah Clark, the Appellants, and a response from the Tree Protection Officer.
Mr. Clark advised that he was a director of Stodday Land Ltd, and reported that he had a document published by the Department for Communities and Local Government entitled Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice, which, at paragraph 2.3, advised that a Tree Preservation Order may only be used to protect trees and could not be applied to bushes or shrubs. Mr. Clark advised that he had been responsible for lopping and topping holly bushes and hedgerows as part of the housekeeping at the Ashton Hall Estate.
With reference to paragraph 3.2 of the said document, Mr. Clark reported that it was the Secretary of State’s view that it would be inappropriate to make a Tree Preservation Order in respect of a tree that was dead, dying or dangerous. Mr. Clark advised that most of the felling, which he had undertaken, had fallen within this category.
Mr. Clark referred to paragraph 6.41 of the official document at which the Secretary of State promoted ongoing beneficial Woodland Management Plans. Mr. Clark advised that he had consulted with the Forestry Commission in 2007 regarding setting up a Woodland Management Plan, so that a method of organising the management of the woods could be established for the benefit of the Estate.
The Tree Protection Officer had visited the Estate in October 2015 as a result of complaints received. The Felling Licence, which was up-to-date, had been produced at that time. Later, in November 2015, an officer from the Forestry Commission had visited, at which time no further felling had been carried out, only the cutting and clearing of the pruned and felled trees. The Forestry Commission Officer had been advised of the situation and had examined Long ... view the full minutes text for item 13.