New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

Postby snowie » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:28 am

Hi There,
I am brand new to the forum. I wondered if this is more a planning question but I have put it in trees because it is tree loss that is my fear.

After much googling & going thru threads I can't find answer to my particular problem....I have a TPO yew tree close to the boundary of my property (about 1m away). Tree is at least 200 yrs old (the arborist originally said it could be as old as my house which is 16th century, but then backtracked and said probably not that old).

I live in a conservation area - a village high street in Kent - and all properties along the high street are grade II listed. Next door to me is a row of 4 rented cottages (also grade II listed). The landlord has declared gardens surplus to requirements, systematically cleared all the trees earlier this year (with the relevant applications having made to the council) and has put in an application to build 2 three bedroom properties. So that's 2 new builds in the curtilage of a listed property. They say it wont harm the setting of adjacent listed properties because there have been iterative additions to the rear elevations of most of the houses (basically "the back of the houses look rubbish anyway"), and it wont harm the conservation area because it can't be seen except ny the 7 properties it will overlook (the houses will be tucked into a garden). Also a fairly weak attempt (in my view) to try to get the council to consider the plot as not "really" residential garden, because it had been subdivided in a weird way into various amenity plots for the 4 cottages.

I'm not being a nimby - I can live with it if it goes ahead as my trees would provide an effective screen BUT the plan is to build the new properties just 0.9m from the boundary with my property. The TO from the council has mentioned my yew tree (but not its TPO) and said that its crown would need cutting. No mention of the roots. The yew tree overhangs the next door garden by about 3m so presumably the roots are spreading out a similar way. I had a tree surgeon round recently to quote for various work (my garden is 200ft long and has some very tall trees, no tree work done at all for years before I moved in 2.5 years ago). Arborist said 0.9m from the boundary could stress my TPO tree to death or destabilise it to the point of falling over. I've asked him to do a detailed report for me, and have mentioned this to the council, saying I hope to forward it to the TO.

After that long winded intro, my question is, can a LA approve an application KNOWING that it will seriously threaten/kill a TPO tree on neighbouring land? I do understand that when detailed planning is granted, TPOs basically become nullified on the land in question. But does the council have the power to basically decide that neighbouring land should lose trees (and presumably have the neighbouring owner cope with disposal at their own expense). I am trying to work out whether TPOs are effective at all if a council decides it wants something to go ahead. I've looked at the legislation but there seems to be no detailed in formation on the grounds on which a TPO can be revoked - the legislation seems to leave it open that the council can just "decide" to revoke it?

There is another tree that will probably suffer as well but that is a tall leylandii (which I am getting topped off). It mysteriously lost a main leader in the winter storms (the only tree in our garden that did, and the prevailing wind was coming from the wrong direction). I'm trying not to paranoid but it would have been right in the way of the development :-). The leylandii and the yew are separated by a 15ft long shed. Directly in the way of the west facing windows in the new properties.

Many thanks in advance for any guidance someone can give me. For example should I be getting details of my TPO from the council, to see when and why it was granted?

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Re: New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

Postby span » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:34 am

What does the council TO say about your scenario?
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Re: New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

Postby despair » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:19 pm

Pilman needs to answer this one as he is our resident planning guru

However immediately you need to make quite a deal of the TPO with both TO and planning and your local councillor as i gont think any development should be allowed to damage a TPO tree and you can be sure the developers wont take care and wont even mind the fines levied if their actions do kill the tree

Its a cleft stick with trees of any description in that if trees are there the council deem them as suitable screening of a new development then of course as soon as the new folk move in they start creating and moaning about trees, loss of light.leaves etc and will try to force you to cut them down
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Re: New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

Postby Roblewis » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:04 pm

Given the age of the tree you have a good claim for the tree not to be interfered with or stressed. It is possible for a dendrochronologist to accurately age the tree but it is intrusive. Even at 200 years this is a mere youngster - a Norman church near us has one likely to be around 15th Century. Remember it takes around 150 years for a hardwood tree such as oak to reach felling size and yew is much slower growing in general terms.
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Re: New builds threaten my TPO tree & privacy/amenity

Postby Treeman » Mon Jul 07, 2014 7:45 pm

The tree is a material consideration in the planning process

Get the tree officer on side and make sure the planners are aware. They should insist the developer provides supplementary planning guidance in the form of a report to BS5837 (trees in relation to construction)
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