Tree order must stay say officers

The scene after tree officers halted the removal of trees at Ruskington. EMN-190807-163100001
The scene after tree officers halted the removal of trees at Ruskington. EMN-190807-163100001

North Kesteven District Planning enforcement officers are recommending an appeal against a Tree Preservation Order on a number of mature trees on a development site in Ruskington is refused after contractors felled and damaged a number of trees before being stopped.

Felling work was halted by NKDC officers on April 1 this year at the property known as Brook House, 42 Manor Street in Ruskington, after complaints from locals about the loss and ‘ring-barking’ of significant trees.

In June last year, the owner of the property was given permission to change the use of the former Brown Butlin offices to eight apartments.

NKDC’s Planning Sub Committee will meet on Tuesday (July 16) when members will be advised to make the temporary order permanent apart from the damaged trees likely to die off which the council would order to be replaced.

According to the report one tree had been completely felled that morning, another tree believed to have been a sycamore had been severely topped, and several other trees had just been damaged and ‘ring barked’ “in what appeared to officers to have been an attempt to compromise their future health and increase the land’s development potential”.

The report adds: “During this visit the property developer responsible for authorising these works informed officers that he believed he had sufficiently damaged the trees so as to prevent the council imposing a TPO.”

Since then, in April this year, the council received a planning application by the same property developer for the demolition of a two-storey side extension at Brook House, and the erection of a two storey dwelling, detached garage and new vehicular access.

The trees are said to provide substantial quality and amenity value to the local area as well as supporting biodiversity and wildlife habitats.

Property developer Nick Allen, of NJA Property Management in Ruskington, representing partial land owners The Lapwing Estate, has objected to the TPO, stating that some of the trees were earmarked for removal and were no longer viable and certain trees did not warrant a TPO.

Eight local residents and the parish council have written backing the TPO due to the environmental value of the trees.