Friday 23 February 2024
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Nottingham

Criticism of ‘nonsensical’ plans to fell trees to make way for a cycle path

Plans which could see trees being felled to make way for a cycle lane next to a housing development have been criticised as “nonsensical”.

Ten trees near the Field Farm development in Stapleford have been “marked with red crosses”, a Broxtowe Borough councillor said.

Councillors debated the issue at the authority’s Full Council meeting on December 15 where Councillor David Watts (Lib Dem) put forward a motion calling on Nottinghamshire County Council to “ensure the plans are changed”.

12 councillors approved the motion and six abstained from the vote.

A total of 118 homes have already been granted permission for the land in Ilkeston Road, and a further 132 homes are going through the planning system for the site.

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Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, of Nottinghamshire County Council, which looks after the trees, said some “will have to be taken down” for safety reasons and the creation of a new pavement and cycle lane.

But he said the developer in the case, Peveril Homes, had been “very premature” in marking the trees – and no decision on them would be made until an agreement is in place allowing them to chop the trees.

Cllr Watts told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “To chop down trees to create a cycle path seems to be nonsensical.

“The first we knew about it was when the workmen put red crosses on these ten trees.

“We are all about creating a cleaner and greener environment and I am all for a new cycle path but not at the expense of the trees.

“These are ten mature trees and there is room alongside the road to have the cycle path without chopping down the trees, or they could build it on the other side of the hedge next to the Fields Farm development.

“It has not been agreed by the Borough Council at all that these trees should come down.”

Cllr Watts, who is also Vice-Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, said during the meeting: “The last thing we want is to suddenly go out one day and discover they have been removed.”

Councillor Philip Owen (Con) said during the meeting: “Some trees will have to be taken down to make it safer for drivers to enter and exit the new housing estate and for the creation of a new pavement and cycle lane.

“It is not the County Council who has been marking out the trees, it is the developer who has been premature.

“No work can be carried out until an agreement is in place to allow the developer to make changes in relation to the scheme.”

Councillor Steve Carr (Lib Dem) said: “This is not part of the planning application that was passed by Broxtowe Borough Council, the land is outside of the area.

“Broxtowe have not given permission for these trees to be felled. The trees are owned by the County Council.”

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of Transport and Environment Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “I absolutely appreciate the frustration of local people in this case.

“As part of the residential development approved by Broxtowe Borough Council, we understand some trees will have to be taken down to make it safer for drivers to enter and exit the new housing estate and for the creation of a new pavement and cycle lane.

“The County Council ensured that Broxtowe Borough Council attached strict conditions to the planning consent in relation to the trees and landscaping, and the scheme of tree removal and tree planting is still to be finalised.

“Unfortunately, the developer has been very premature in marking the trees and I can assure local people that no work can be carried out on the trees until a S278 agreement is in place that allows the developers to make alterations or improvements to the highway.  This will not be in place until next year and any work to the trees must be carried out under the guidance and expertise of the County Council’s forestry officer.

“I would like to reassure residents that any trees that can be saved, will be saved and that any trees lost on the highway absolutely must be balanced with a suitable tree replacement scheme.”

The approved motion stated: “Broxtowe Borough Council notes with dismay the proposal to fell ten trees on Ilkeston Road in Stapleford for the creation of a new cycle path. These trees are perfectly healthy and this proposed felling is completely unnecessary.  Broxtowe Borough Council calls on all appropriate bodies to take proactive measures to ensure the trees are preserved.”

A Peveril Homes spokesperson said: “Approved plans to facilitate a footpath and cycleway link along Ilkeston Road to Field Farm have formed part of a number of historical applications by Westerman Homes.

“The original plans consulted neighbours and the Parish Council at the time and this is now being delivered in line with the approved planning consent for the Field Farm development.”

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