11 March 2013

The City Solicitor, Legal Services
Municipal Buildings, Dale Street
Liverpool L2 2DH

FAO Nevil Basnett (Planning & Environment Unit,)

Dear Mr Basnett,

The City Council of Liverpool (Land at Wavertree Village Green, Liverpool L15)
Tree Preservation Order, 2013

Thank you for your letter dated 13 February 2013. On behalf of the Wavertree Society's Executive Committee I am writing to OBJECT to the imposition of a Tree Preservation Order on Wavertree Village Green.

The GROUNDS OF OUR OBJECTION are as follows:


1a. According to the published government guidance ('Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice', paras 3.1-3.5)  "In the Secretary of State's view, TPOs should be used to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public. LPAs [Local Planning Authorities] should be able to show that a reasonable degree of public benefit would accrue before TPOs are made or confirmed". In this instance we contend that there are so many trees of an inappropriate species (Norway Maple), that they detract from rather than enhance the public's enjoyment of the village green. Their dense canopy prevents daylight and sunlight and - except in the winter months - rain reaching the ground surface. As a result the 'green' now consists largely of leaf mulch and mud, rather than the grass which was there for 200 years following its creation under the Wavertree Enclosure Act of 1768.

1b. The guidance states that "The benefit may be present or future; trees may be worthy of preservation for their intrinsic beauty or for their contribution to the landscape or because they serve to screen an eyesore or future development". In this instance the trees do not screen an 'eyesore', instead they screen Wavertree Lock-up (built 1796, and designated as a Grade II Listed Building since 1952) which is an attractive landmark within the Wavertree Village Conservation Area. The setting of this listed building has been drastically altered during the past 40 years - we would argue its setting has been damaged rather than enhanced - as a result of the planting of the Norway Maples.

1c. The guidance states that "the value of trees may be enhanced by their scarcity". This is certainly not true in the case of Wavertree Village Green. Wavertree is fortunate - thanks in part to the existence of several other TPOs and conditions attached to planning permissions - to have retained a large number of attractive, mature trees, many of them originally planted within the grounds of the 'country mansions' and villa residences which characterised the area in the 18th and 19th centuries.

1d. The guidance states that "LPAs should be able to explain to landowners why their trees or woodlands have been protected by a TPO". Wavertree Village Green is common land - the only piece of registered common land within the City of Liverpool - and the Council therefore needs to explain to the people of Wavertree why these trees are regarded as more important as an amenity than the village green on which they stand. This has not yet been done.

1e. The guidance states that "the mere fact that a tree is publicly visible will not itself be sufficient to warrant a TPO. The LPA should also assess the tree's [or group of trees'] particular importance by reference to its size and form ...", its individual/collective impact and its "wider impact ... taking into account how suitable they are to their particular setting". Again - as far as we are aware - such an assessment has not yet been carried out.

Continued . . .

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