Venue: Lancaster Town Hall
Contact: Jane Glenton, Democratic Services: telephone (01524) 582068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Prior to commencement of the meeting, site visits were undertaken in response to objections received to Tree Preservation Order No. 607 (2017) – The Coach House, Sunnyside Lane, Lancaster and Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017) – 1-5 Ashton Barns, Ashton Road, Ashton-with-Stodday.
The following Members were present on the site visits:
Councillors Claire Cozler (Chairman), Tracy Brown, Janice Hanson, Joan Jackson, Terrie Metcalfe and Peter Yates.
Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox undertook site visits independently.
Officer in Attendance:
Jane Glenton – Democratic Support Officer
Appointment of Vice-Chairman
To appoint a Vice-Chairman for the 2017/18 municipal year.
It was proposed by Councillor Brown and seconded by Councillor Hanson that Councillor Metcalfe be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Appeals Committee for the Municipal Year 2017/18. There being no further nominations, the Chairman declared the proposal to be carried.
That Councillor Metcalfe be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Appeals Committee for the Municipal Year 2017/18.
Minutes of the meeting held on 24 April 2017 (previously circulated)
The Minutes of the meeting held on 24th April 2017 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
The Chairman asked Members whether they wished to proceed in the absence of the Tree Protection Officer, who was unable to attend the meeting. Members confirmed that the meeting would proceed on the basis that they had read the reports in detail, and had undertaken site visits and seen the trees in context.
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 9 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.
Matters for Decision
Report of the Chief Officer (Legal and Governance)
The Committee received the report of the Chief Officer (Legal and Governance) to enable Members to consider the objections received to Tree Preservation Order No. 607 (2017) relating to two mature pine trees (referred to as T1 and T2) established within the curtilage of The Coach House, Sunnyside Lane, Lancaster, and thereafter whether or not to confirm the Order.
It was reported that the site was established within the local Conservation Area known as Cannon Hill. Local Planning Authorities had a duty to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of Conservation Areas and trees were a key factor and constraint in that role. Prior to undertaking any tree work within a Conservation Area, a six week ‘Notice of Intent’ should be submitted to the Local Planning Authority, in accordance with Section 211 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
Lancaster City Council had received a Section 211 Notice to fell the two mature pine trees (T1 and T2). The owners had cited the following reasons for T1 and T2 being felled:
· the trees had grown too big for their location;
· branches overhung the public footpath, public highway, alleyway and a neighbouring property;
· in the interests of health and safety (two branches had been shed from the trees) and nuisance to a neighbouring property.
It was reported that all trees that had a stem diameter of 75 mm or greater when measured at 1.5 m above ground level within a Conservation Area were protected in law. Both trees had attained mature proportions and were highly visible from the public domain.
In determining whether or not to confirm the Tree Preservation Order, Members considered the letters received in objection, which were set out in the Agenda, and heard representations from Mr. David Ashbridge (the owner), Kevin and Carol Booth (neighbours) and Christine Ingham (neighbour) speaking in objection to the Tree Preservation Order.
Mr. David Ashbridge (Objector and owner of the land)
Mr. Ashbridge, on behalf of himself and Mrs. Natasha Ashbridge, informed Members as follows:
· branches from the two trees overhung the public footpath, public highway, alleyway and a neighbouring property; two branches had been shed from the trees in question; and he had a duty of care for the community;
· his neighbours were in support of the trees being felled; neither party was opposed to trees per se; however, they were upset by the problems posed by the two trees; the views of residents must be taken into account;
· the two trees overhung gutters and shed pine needles, which did not decompose, into them; neighbouring gardens and yards were littered by debris from the trees;
· it did not appear that the trees provided essential habitat for wildlife; he had never observed squirrels or nesting birds in the trees; the lime trees and other trees, which were located in the vicinity, did, however, attract lots of birds, including a woodpecker, and owls nested in the nearby community orchard;
· two arboriculture professionals had visited the site, ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Report of the Chief Officer (Legal and Governance)
The Committee received the report of the Chief Officer (Legal and Governance) to consider the objection received to Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017) located at 1-5 Ashton Barns, Ashton Road, Ashton-with-Stodday, and thereafter whether or not to confirm the Order.
It was reported that the trees in question were four mature sycamore trees established on land opposite 1-5 Ashton Barns, Ashton Road, Ashton-with-Stodday. Members were advised that a concern had been expressed to the Council that two large mature sycamore trees had been felled on the land in question and that the remaining trees may be at risk of removal if unprotected. Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017) had therefore been made on 28th June 2017 in the interest of public amenity value and wildlife benefit.
In determining whether or not to confirm the Tree Preservation Order, Members considered the letters received, which were set out in the Agenda.
Mrs. Sarah Clark (Objector and owner of the land)
The Chairman advised Members that Mrs. Clark had been unable to attend the hearing, due to work commitments, and referred them to Mrs. Clark’s letter dated 25th July 2017, which set out her reasons for objecting to Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017), as follows:
(1) T4 sycamore was situated in the private front garden of her home, Hayloft Barn, and a more accurate description of the position of T4 was opposite Hayloft Barn, not 1-5 Ashton Barns.
(2) Mrs. Clark considered it an unnecessary restriction relating to a tree which was located in her private garden, which for around 20 years had provided a play area, including zip wire affixed to the trees with bird boxes. This would no longer be enjoyed if a Tree Preservation Order was imposed.
(3) One of the trees, which had been felled within the front garden to Hayloft Barn on 1st June 2017, had died and had been considered dangerous. The other, which was interfering with light and services, also located within the front garden, did not put all other trees located in Hayloft Barn garden, either to the front or the rear of the property or any other trees in the vicinity, under the threat of removal. Had that been the case, T1-T4 would also have been removed on 1st June 2017.
(4) The imposition of Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017) on T4 would almost certainly take the privacy in her front garden.
Following consideration of Mrs. Clark’s written representation, Members of the Committee had the opportunity to raise questions on the representation.
Once there were no further questions, Members considered the letter in support of Tree Preservation Order No. 615 (2017) from Judy Camp of 2 Ashton Barns, Ashton-with-Stodday, which was set out in the Agenda.
Tree Protection Officer’s Report
The report advised that the four mature sycamore trees, namely T1-T4, all appeared to be in a good state of health and vitality and free from significant pest and disease when observed from ground level. They all ... view the full minutes text for item 7.