Report of Chief Officer (Governance)
The Committee considered an objection received to a decision of the Council under Section 198 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (T&CPA 1990) making an Order in respect of a single mature maple established on County Council land adjacent to Darwen House, 52 Main Road, Bolton-le-Sands and to the front of Bolton-le-Sands Library, being Tree Preservation Order No. 526 (2013), and thereafter whether or not to confirm the Order.
It was reported that Lancaster City Council had received a Section 211 Notice (13/0108/TCA) to undertake works to the canopy of the tree in question, in order to alleviate an existing conflict between branches and structures of the adjacent private dwelling. The proposed work had been assessed and judged to be excessive and inappropriate with regard to the age and species of tree in question and current standards of best practice, BS 3998 (2010) – Tree Work. The work would have resulted in a severely compromised tree in terms of stability, health, vitality and long-term sustainability, which would have significant potential to adversely affect its amenity and that of its locality.
The Council had objected to the extent of works proposed and had considered it to be expedient in the interests of amenity to make TPO No. 526 (2013) and protect and safeguard the future of the tree in question.
A single, formal, written letter of objection
had subsequently been received from
Mr. M. Garnett of 52 Main Road, Bolton-le-Sands dated 13 October 2013. Mr. Garnett was not present at the meeting.
Members considered the written objections received from the Appellant, Mr. Garnett, as follows:
· Such a close proximity caused both a current potential future risk to the foundations of the house and therefore potential future legal liability to Lancashire County Council.
· Damp issues were caused on the roof and gable end wall by the tree overhanging the property; the property had recently been repointed due to blown render in the locality of the tree, due to an excessive collection of organic dead matter on the roof and in the guttering, with an ongoing maintenance problem with plants and foliage growing in the collected matter, undermining the integrity of the roof, causing dampness inside the bedrooms to the first and second floors (a recent insurance claim had been required to replace furniture which had been damaged), and under the shade of the overhanging boughs there was no opportunity for this area of the property to dry out.
Tree Protection Officer
The Tree Protection Officer presented the case on behalf of Lancaster City Council.
Members were advised that TPO No. 526 (2013) related to a single, mature maple established on land immediately adjacent to a private dwelling known as Darwen House, 52 Main Road, Bolton-le-Sands. The tree was growing on land under the control of Lancashire County Council, to the front of Bolton-le-Sands Library. The tree was clearly visible from the public domain and, as such, made a positive contribution to the visual amenity of the site and locality.
The tree in question had been assessed in terms of its amenity value using the Tree Evaluation Method for Preservation Orders (TEMPO) and, with a score of 15, the use of a Tree Preservation Order was described as ‘definitely merits’.
It was reported that the tree offered habitat and foraging opportunities for a range of wildlife within the heart of Bolton-le-Sands village and conservation area, including the potential for species which were protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, such as nesting birds. Whilst the benefit of trees to wildlife could not be used as a sole reason for making and serving a TPO, the value of trees to wildlife could be recognised within current TPO legislation, in conjunction with existing amenity value.
The City Council considered it expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of the tree in question under Sections 198, 201 and 203of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the following reasons:
· important public visual amenity;
· important landscape feature in keeping with the character of the immediate locality and wider conservation area;
· wildlife benefit;
· ongoing threat from inappropriate future management.
The Tree Protection Officer referred to the points raised in the Appellant’s letter.
With regard to his concern regarding tree-related subsidence, Mr. Garnett had been advised that this could only occur if the property was founded on a shrinkable clay soil and if the tree was established within influencing distance of the soils beneath the foundation of the property. The Council would not consider the removal of the tree without an engineering report to show that the property was founded on a highly shrinkable clay soil. The incidence of highly shrinkable clay soils occurring naturally within the district was low.
With reference to leaf litter, this could fall into adjacent gutters and measures may be required to prevent any of the associated issues that had been identified. Lancaster City Council’s Tree Policy (adopted 2010) stated that trees would not be felled in relation to leaf litter. The policy document had been supported by Lancashire County Council, as consultees.
The value of trees and the positive contribution that they made across the district was recognised by Lancaster City Council, and it was essential that trees were managed carefully and appropriately. Lancaster City Council had a duty under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to protect trees for the benefit of all. Healthy trees would only be removed where there was an overriding need to do so.
It was reported that a tree preservation order did not prevent works being undertaken that were appropriate and reasonable and in the interest of good arboriculture practice and in compliance to current standard of practice BS 3998 (2010 Tree Work. Lancaster City Council had received an application from Lancashire County Council, the tree owners, to undertake works to the canopy of the protected tree. The work had been identified in order to reduce the encroachment back from the dwelling, to avoid any direct contact and reduce the risk of damage to the fabric of the property. The details had been assessed. A decision notice had been issued and the works had subsequently been carried out, in compliance with current standards of best practice,
The Tree Protection Officer advised that, in her professional opinion, the tree in question was worthy of ongoing protection with TPO 526 (2013).
Members asked questions of the Tree Protection Officer.
(The Tree Protection Officer left the meeting room whilst the Committee made its decision in private.)
Members considered the options before them:
(1) To confirm Tree Preservation Order No. 526 (2013)
(a) Without modification
(b) Subject to such modification as is considered expedient
(2) Not to confirm Tree Preservation Order No. 526 (2013).
It was proposed by Councillor Sherlock and seconded by Councillor Greenall:
“That Tree Preservation Order No. 526 (2013) be confirmed.”
Upon being put to the vote, 5 Members voted in favour of the proposition, with 1 abstention, whereupon the Chairman declared the proposal to be carried.
(The Tree Protection Officer returned to the meeting for the decision to be announced)
That Tree Preservation Order No. 526 (2013) be confirmed.