• West Hill neighbours anger over plans to fell line of scots pines to make way for development

    3rd March 2016 | News | Claire
  • West Hill is a woodland village and the latest plans to fell a line of scots pines is a huge shame and quite wrong, in my view.

    I have objected as the Woodland Trust’s Tree Champion for Devon. Here’s my objection:

    Hi, I am commenting on this application as Devon County Councillor and Woodland Trust Tree Champion for Devon.

    My understanding is that seven of these nine prominent Scots Pines (photo attached) are proposed to be felled as part of this planning application

    My understanding from my role as a councillor with EDDC for four years, is that the standard procedure for planning applications where there are trees on site is to submit a tree survey so neighbours can see exactly what is proposed and how the trees are rated in terms of their amenity and quality, by tree specialists. However, in this instance there is no tree survey and the applicant states that there are no trees present that could influence the development or have an impact on the character of the area. This is obviously inaccurate.

    The seven scots pines are clearly important to the street scene and the overall character of Higher Broad Oak Road, which is little more than a leafy single track rural lane, with many beautiful and important trees.

    The National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 17 bullet point six refers to taking the intrinsic value and beauty of the countryside and character of the area into account when determining planning applications.  So does paragraph 28 bullet point 3. 

    Paragraph 64 states “permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.” 

    The scots pines in question are obviously mature, attractive, prominent and significantly contribute to the tree lined nature of Higher Broad Oak Road and are valued by local people, as several objections submitted raise this issue.

    The proposed development area is very large and I am disappointed and surprised that the tree officer has given his support to the felling of the scots pines, when a slightly smaller dwelling would not have necessitated their felling.

    I would be grateful if the tree officer reconsiders his recommendation and that planning officers take my views – and the views of neighbours fully into account and refuse this application in its current form.  There are certainly a number of good policy reasons to do so.

    Best wishes

    Photograph shows the line of scots pines viewed from Higher Broad Oak Road.