Sunday, 12 July 2020

Warning not to cut down trees

A WARNING has been issued not to cut down protected trees on a parcel of woodland near Henley after neighbours raised concerns.

Several trees on land off Gravel Hill, between Pack and Prime Lane and Parkside, were recently marked with red crosses, which drew the attention of concerned dog walkers.

The site has been the subject of several failed proposals for a block of 10 flats and the walkers feared another attempt might be in the pipeline.

They alerted town councillor Donna Crook, who raised their concerns with South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority.

Enforcement officers then put up notices warning that the site is subject to a tree preservation order and breaching it could result in prosecution.

Councillor Crook said: “Someone posted their concerns on social media and I took it up because I wanted to make sure no one was able to destroy those trees.

“I hate to see trees destroyed because they’re so important to the environment and we need to value them more. They shouldn’t be torn down for a block of flats that nobody wants.

“I’m very thankful to the district council for getting someone out here so quickly at a time when they’ve got a lot to deal with.”

The site is described as a “wildlife corridor” harbouring sika deer, red kites, ravens, bats and other species.

Six years ago, Millgate Homes, of Twyford, put the land forward for inclusion in the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan, a document outlining where new housing should be built. However, it was rejected as unsuitable.

Since then two planning applications by the developer have been refused. At the last attempt in 2018, the district council’s forestry officer argued that the development would cause significant harm to the protected woodland.

Planning permission for two detached houses was refused on similar grounds in the Eighties.

According to Land Registry records, the site is owned by neighbour Terence Bingham.

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