23/00502/CACN 66 Copt Elm Road, Charlton Kings, Cheltenham GL53 8AW
The case officer introduced the item, which proposed the removal of three trees in a conservation area. He explained that the trees are very close together, and generally in poor condition due to competing for water and light. With poor amenity value, life expectancy of no more than 10 years, and potential risk from dropping dead wood, he considered that two of the trees were not worthy of protection with a TPO and the other was borderline. He added that the resident is committed to planting a strawberry tree in their place, and transplanting a cedar from elsewhere in the garden to mitigate their loss, although this cannot be enforced.
The resident was invited to speak to support her case, and confirmed the comments from the trees officer, stating that an earlier application to remove five trees was withdrawn following discussion with him. She said that none of the trees had been able to grow and thrive properly, due to their close proximity, and if any one of the trees were to be retained, it would be poorly shaped as a result. One of the sycamores frequently dropped small branches on the road. She proposed felling the trees, replacing them at the corner of the plot with an Atlas cedar, transplanted from elsewhere in the garden and currently about 2m tall. It would be an attractive tree, visible from Lyefield Road and providing year-round screening, and she had also planted other new trees along the boundary in recent years. There have been no objections from neighbours or the trees officer.
In response to questions from Members, the trees officer confirmed that:
- if the council raises no objection to the felling of the trees, it cannot enforce new planting, although officers can give informal advice about suitable species etc;
- regarding the proposal to relocated the existing Atlas cedar, he isn’t convinced that this will be successful at this stage of the tree’s maturity, although it is unlikely to give rise to problems with the cedar in Pittville Park which is considerably old. All trees cause problems eventually, but if this one does thrive – which is questionable - it will be many years before it does so;
- if the two declining trees were removed, the remaining sycamore would get more water and light, but not significantly so.
In debate, Members made the following points:
- there is a very attractive poplar tree in the garden which will be more visible and benefit from what is being proposed. This is a good reason to support the application;
- no objection should be raised as the resident is being very straightforward in her objectives. Moving the cedar will be challenging – she will need to take advice on the best time to do it, and it will need a lot of water to keep it going;
- the strawberry tree will be a nice addition;
- this is an iconic corner of Charlton Kings, seen from every angle, but the sensible and constructive dialogue between the resident and trees officer has resulted in a solution which keeps everyone happy;
- more applications are likely to follow, and it is unfortunate that the form only allows the resident to describe what trees they propose to remove, with nowhere to include a description of proposed replacements or mitigating measures; this doesn’t help make an informed decision, and with the emphasis on biodiversity it would be useful to encourage residents to give an idea of their intentions;
- removal of any trees, including these which have probably taken 50 years to achieve their height, should always be challenged, but the resident and trees officer have engaged well to achieve a positive outcome and should be congratulated for this. It is clear from other work in the garden that the resident clearly appreciates the importance of trees;
- trees are an integral part of the street scene, and this copse is currently untidy, detracting from the elegant house. The removal of the three trees and replanting will enhance the visual appearance of this corner and the setting of the house.
The Head of Planning confirmed that the form used was standardised across England, and could not be changed. It was up to officers to assess the trees and work out solutions with the residents.
Vote on officer recommendation to raise no objection
10 in support - unanimous
No objection raised
- 23-00502 Officers report, item 5b PDF 241 KB
- Application for Tree Works, item 5b PDF 2 MB
- Letter of representation, item 5b PDF 288 KB
- Officer Presentation - 66 Copt Elm Road, item 5b PDF 2 MB