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Agenda item

17/02251/TPO 1 Hazebrouck Close


Councillor Babbage returned to the Chamber for this item.

Councillor Hobley arrived at the meeting during this item.


Application Number:



1 Hazebrouck Close


Oak tree in rear garden - fell



Officer Recommendation:


Committee Decision:


Letters of Rep:


Update Report:



AHoldstockintroduced the application as above, to fell a very large oak tree in the rear garden of the applicant’s property.  It is at Committee at the request of Councillor Whyborn.  The recommendation is to permit, subject to the applicant re-planting a species to provide amenity to the local area. 



Public Speaking:

Mr Ling, applicant, in support

The tree has a negative impact on his garden, home and family life – no grass, flowers or shrubs can grow underneath it, and the garden cannot be used for social events, such as barbecues.  When the  tree is in leaf in the summer, light is blocked out of the garden; the bare soil acts as a huge litter tray for local cats, and any vertical surfaces and the trampolineare covered with moss, making it impractical to use.  The main impact of the tree is on his five-year-old daughter, who can’t use the garden in summer or winter – there is no grass, and she cannot invite friends to play.  Neighbours support the application to remove the tree, there have been no objections, and the ward councillor is also supportive.  Is asking Members to agree to the request to remove the tree.


Councillor Whyborn, in support

The applicant’s family is suffering a very considerable loss of amenity resulting from this tree.  Hopes we have learnt in the last few decades not to allow developers to build so close to oak trees, but this house pre-dates any current recommendation.   Wrong decisions were made, and this tree is in the wrong place in relation to the houses.  Members will have seen the loss of amenity it causes on Planning View:  there is no grass at all, as the tree takes all the goodness from the soil.  There is also a risk of branches falling.  Asked for the application to come to Committee, being aware that anything to do with trees can be controversial; it is not usual for someone to ask to fell an oak tree, and it wasn’t clear at the initial stage that the officer would agree.  Would like to add four points to the issue of loss of amenity:  the report states that the pruning needed to improve the situation would detract from the tree’s visual amenity – it would end up shaped like a lollipop, and have no amenity for the rest of the neighbourhood; there is the risk of the tree roots undermining the property – it is not mature and therefore still growing bigger; an application to fell the tree was refused 15 years ago – if it had been permitted, we would now have two mature trees in its place; and finally, the question of what will happen if nothing happens – we will be back here in 5-7 years, considering the same situation.  Unfortunately, sooner or later this tree will have to come down – it will be a choice between the tree and the house, and no-one wants that.  Hopes therefore that the Committee will look favourably on this application, and grant permission to remove the tree.



Member Debate:

PT:  this is a stunning tree, a real beauty, and a perfect specimen.  Is always in the forefront of those who wish to preserve trees but here, reluctantly agrees with the officer recommendation.  It is a sad, sad thing, and hopes that at least the logs will be salvaged and made into something beautiful, not dumped in landfill.  It will cost a lot to take it down, but the poor tree has to go.  It is in the wrong place – the builder shouldn’t have built so close to it.  Despite her usual feelings, strongly believes this tree will have to come down.


PB:  wasn’t going to speak this evening - is usually a passionate defender of trees, and this is a particularly nice one. Has listened to the owner’s sincere and honest appraisal of the situation, and as a parent, understands what he is saying – the tree prevents the garden from being used by the family, and dominates the house and garden.  Apart from anything else, oak trees are fantastic habitats for various wildlife, but sadly believes the right decision in this case is to take the tree down.


CH:  will be quick – this application should clearly be approved, which begs the question as to why it is at Committee.  However, now that it is here, will take the opportunity to make a wider point:  when housing developments go up, there are sometimes existing trees on the site, and the builder needs to consider what the trees will grow into. This is an omission; the house isn’t that old.  When applications are submitted, the developer should be advised where trees that are quite small will grow and soon become much bigger trees which can have a material affect on amenity.  We must take note of what has happened here.  As a carpenter, hopes that the wood isn’t burned – it would be nice to work with.    


GB:  acorns grow into oak trees; people don’t always recognise this fact.


BF:  agrees with the previous speaker, but isn’t sure that we should insist that a new tree is planted in this one’s place.  There is a yew tree in the garden, which is more than enough for a garden this size.  The applicant will struggle to grow anything else there.  Hopes that the applicant, having had his family’s life dominated by the tree for so many years, will have a piece of garden furniture made from the wood, to remember it by!


MC:  this is an unfortunate situation.  Loves trees, and this one is particularly gorgeous.  But has sympathy with the applicant – gardens are to be enjoyed, particularly by children.  Will therefore agree with the officer’s recommendation, but before the tree is removed, will go and give it a big hug!


GB:  this is a beautiful tree, and no-one likes to lose a tree like this.  It will mean a loss of habitat to various wildlife, but at least there are other trees in the area.  Agrees with BF that appropriate re-planting should be up to the applicant – we shouldn’t insist on another tree, as it won’t replace the amenity value of the existing tree.  Would resist the condition for a replacement tree. 


AHoldstock, in response:

-       the application is at Committee because of the amenity issue rather than any health and safety risk.  If there was any health and safety risk, the decision would be clear-but; the regarding the amenity issue, officers have changed their minds several times, and felt that an airing at Committee, opening the decision to a wider opinion, was the right thing to do;

-       regarding any replanting, it would have to be a species appropriate to the location – a small-to-medium tree such as a hawthorn, which would grow taller than the fence but not dominate the garden.


PT:  doesn’t believe we should insist on a replacement.  There are other trees in the area, and the garden is small.  Another tree would restrict the family’s use of the garden.  They should be allowed to grow grass and enjoy what they’ve got.


AL:  supports the officer recommendation, and would like to propose the lifting of the condition to replace.  The plot faces east, so it will get the morning sun; a new tree will place the garden in shadow.


AH:  would also like to support the lifting of the condition.  As a liberal, supports the resident’s right to live free from trees should they wish.  We should give them the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine.


Vote on AL’s move to lift the condition requiring a replacement tree to be planted

13 in support

0 in objection

1 abstention



Vote on officer recommendation to permit

13 in support

0 in objection

1 abstention




The meeting ended at 6.50pm.






Supporting documents: