An application to fell two trees on land opposite Westover View in Brickyard Lane, has been withdrawn. Town Councillors discussed the notification of intent to carry out tree surgery works to the sycamore trees, within a Conservation Area, at the December meeting of the Planning and Highways Committee. Chairman, Councillor Charles Aslett read out an email received from a concerned resident in Bincombe Drive, which stated that the land had been ‘roughly and very unsympathetically excavated by a mechanical digger’ on 15th and 16th October, 2020.
Excavation work already carried out at the privately owned site, leading up to the adjoining hedge with the public footpath to Bincombe Beeches Nature Reserve, had included, ‘hacking of tree branches and removal of undergrowth and more than top soil, which had been home to various protected species of wildlife, including badgers.’ Unfortunately, as their setts had not been recorded, the Badger Conservation Society were unable to make a formal complaint to the authorities. Complaints had been made at the time by concerned residents to two town councillors and the site had been visited by one of the councillors.
Although application 20/03157/TCA was for notification only, councillors were extremely concerned that the ‘intent to carry out tree surgery’ was in fact a request to fell two well established trees. Councillor Kathy Head said: “Tree surgery is knocking off dead branches not felling trees.” Councillor Aslett raised serious concerns on the application and the excavation work that had already been carried out at the site. Councillors agreed to ask SSDC Tree Officer Phillip Poulton to visit the site and would eagerly await his recommendations. Following the site visit by Mr Poulton, it has now been confirmed that the application has been withdrawn by the agent.