NEWS FROM THE GATEACRE SOCIETY (March 2004):

PINE TREES APPEAL DECISION

On 11th February the Government Office for the North West announced that consent was being granted for the felling of two Corsican pines on land between numbers 32 and 38 Hunts Cross Avenue. The Secretary of State agreed with his consultant arboriculturalist, Mr D H Thorman, that "there has been considerable ground disturbance and root damage during the construction works carried out at the site which has compromised the long term stability and safety of the trees" and that felling would therefore be justified.

We have mentioned the threat to these trees several times in previous Newsletters, and feel that the Arboriculturalist's report is worth quoting at some length. We hope that the City Council will learn lessons from this unfortunate saga, and will be more wary in future when granting planning permission for new houses close to existing trees.

"The two trees are extremely prominent in the locality, and have significant amenity value. Although part of a stand of 5 pines their removal would constitute a very noticeable loss.

"The local authority in granting consent for the development were satisfied that the two appeal trees could successfully be incorporated into the development. This decision is questionable in view of the trunk diameter and the tree architecture, but would have been dependant on suitable protective fencing being erected However, it is evident that there has been no protective fencing, with the result that many damaging activities have occurred up to 2m from the trees The ground has been excavated by approximately 0.75m, there is ongoing compaction of the ground, and there could be spillage of cement and other materials.
"The trees appear healthy, with no abnormal needle loss, so they appear to have tolerated the damage up to now, considering that the digging of foundations began over 2 years ago. It is not possible to assess the extent of the effect on stability, but there has been root loss close to the tree, and further damage is ongoing at present. Corsican pines have in their favour that they are relatively deeper rooting, but nevertheless, stability has been compromised by construction activities around these trees."

The Secretary of State's decision is subject to two 150-200 cm high root-balled replacement trees being planted within the rear garden of the new house.

The full text of the decision letter,
and of the arboriculturalist's report,
can be viewed on a special section

of our website

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