[NOTE: The Aboricultural Officer reported that an email was sent to Councillors on 14 October 2022 along with an attached report; this had been noted but Officer had not had the opportunity to comment on this as it had been received after the report was published.]
The Committee considered a report which recommended to the Committee that a Tree Preservation Order be confirmed following the receipt of one letter of objection to the making of the Order. The Tree Preservation Order would protect an individual Birch tree on Land at 5 Barrens Close.
Councillor L Lyons, Ward Councillor, did not support the making of the TPO. He reminded the Committee that the report before them was not related to the determination of the planning application that was considered in June 2022. Councillor L Lyons had encouraged Committee Members to visit the tree, which in his opinion was nothing special with its branches overhanging the house, roots damaging the path and property and the tree was also leaning. Councillor L Lyons thought the tree was nearing the end of its life and was causing heartache to the owners of the property.
Some Member of the Committee agreed with the points made by Councillor L Lyons and did not think a TPO should be placed on this silver birch tree.
Other Members thought the Committee should listen to the advice of the experts and did not think there was evidence of the tree causing the damage to the property.
In the external report the tree had been labelled as a U grade tree. Following a question, the Arboricultural Officer explained that the Council did not grade trees in instances of TPOs and the important part of protecting this tree was down to the vitality of the tree and the sylvan character of the area. It was inevitable that trees would die, but the space left could be used to plant a replacement tree, and this was also part of the reason to place a TPO
Following a question regarding the water absorption of trees and potential water damage if removed, the Aboricultural Officer explained that if the tree was removed there was a chance that the property could suffer from ‘heave’, particularly if there was already an issue with subsidence. With regard to the damage evident in the property, it was noted that it was the responsibility of the owner to provide evidence that the tree specifically was causing this damage and it was not being caused by other means. It was noted that if the Committee agreed to place this TPO and then subsequently the evidence was provided to prove that the tree was in fact causing the damage this would be accessed and action could be taken at that point to ensure the tree did not cause further damage.
In accordance with Standing Order 22.2, the Chairman deemed that a division should be taken on the recommendation to confirm the Tree Preservation Order. The votes for and against the recommendation were recorded as follows.
In favour: Cllrs J Brown, S Dorsett, P Graves S Oades and T Spenser.
Against: Cllrs T Aziz, A Boote and G Cosnahan.
Present but not voting: Cllr L Morales (Chairman).
The Tree Preservation Order was therefore confirmed.
That Tree Preservation Order Ref. TPO/0004/2022 be confirmed without modification