Warning for parish over tree felling saga

The dead tree which has been the source of conflict between NKDC tree offiicers and Heckington Parish Council. EMN-180504-184610001
The dead tree which has been the source of conflict between NKDC tree offiicers and Heckington Parish Council. EMN-180504-184610001

Parish councillors have been at loggerheads with North Kesteven District Council officers after they mistakenly tried to chop down a tree with a preservation order on it.

The large tree is on a small plot between Millers Way and Bramley Close in Heckington, managed by the parish council.

After concerns from neighbours about the tree, which is believed to be dying and has a large crack up its middle, the parish council council requested an arborist’s report in November which identified safety issues and on closer inspection it was believed it may need to be felled.

Work began on January 9 but was stopped by North Kesteven District Council following a complaint from another resident as the parish council had failed to apply to the district council to lift a Tree Preservation Order on it.

Parish council chairman Coun Jan Palmer explained at their latest meeting they were under criminal investigation, despite the ongoing safety concerns from neighbours who feared a large branch might fall on their property.

Coun Palmer said the arborist and her clerk were interviewed under caution and Coun Palmer wrote to NKDC chief executive Ian Fytche accepting their innocent mistake but complaining of the lengthy delay in receiving any information on how things would proceed.

Local district councillor Stuart Ogden said it was not acceptable to keep the parish council waiting any longer and raised the matter with Mr Fytche.

In response, NKDC told The Standard: “The investigation has now concluded and a decision has been made to issue a warning letter.”