Monday, 08 August 2022

Remove this tree and you will see my wife undress

Remove this tree and you will see my wife undress

A MAN has objected to the removal of a tree because he says passers-by would be able to see his wife getting undressed.

Robert Davies, of Mill Lane, Henley, is unhappy with his neighbour’s plan to reinstate the receding riverbank near their homes.

Will Phillips is proposing to have a floating pontoon anchored to the ground by a retaining block set back from the riverbank but the work would involve felling a willow tree.

Mr Davies told a meeting of Henley Town Council’s planning committee that he wasn’t against the idea of improving the riverbank but said the tree protected the privacy of his home.

He said: “This tree is an integral part of the view, an integral part of nature. You can see it from Marsh Lock bridge.

“Take that tree out and I think you destroy the area. You don’t need to if you have got all this space.

“Take the tree away and as people come on to the bridge they can see into our dressing room, bedroom and bathroom.

“My wife looks pretty with her clothes on, less so without. The tree hides it, even in winter as it has so many cross branches. You can also see, if you take the tree out, the whole of our front garden.

“I think we can come up with a plan that leaves the tree, maintains the bucolic nature the view from the bridge and allows the other four neighbours to do what they want to do, which is to get in and out of the water more easily.”

He added: “If the tree is removed people on the bridge would see the pontoon and think that is a place to swim, a place to get in the water and the traffic will come.”

A planning statement by chartered surveyors SBRice, made on behalf of Mr Phillips, says changes have already been made to the plans as a result of objections to a previous application submitted in February 2021.

It says: “It became clear that a hard-edged slipway design, consisting of extensive sheet piling, may have an impact on the relatively small site and surrounding environment. The applicant is now proposing a floating pontoon anchored to the ground by a retaining block set back from the riverbank, meaning that there is no construction needed on or within the riverbank itself.

“The new floating pontoon design will allow for safe and practical launching of small boats, kayaks and canoes to and from the river for recreational purposes.

“Replacement tree planting will compensate for the loss of a poor quality, decaying crack willow tree and a new nesting box will be placed on an adjacent alder.”

But Ronald Droy, who lives in Mill Lane, has also objected.

He said: “The applicant does not reside on this privately maintained off-shoot of the main council-kept Mill Lane.

“This has been a peaceful area and maintained by myself and neighbouring residents for the 37 years I have resided here.

“The freedom from disturbance for all these years has aided in the tranquillity for ourselves and our much-adored wildlife.

“The removal of the tree in question would be disastrous for the immediate residents and wildlife. The roots being exposed to the riverside is in keeping with all willow trees along the banks of the Thames — a perfectly natural formation.

“This tree is not a threat to any human or wildlife. This has been confirmed by a professional arborist.

“Myself and neighbours spent many youthful years enjoying rope swings from the tree and launching our dinghys, boats and canoes here, as did my children and I hope my grandchildren will do so also.

“This proposal is visually intrusive both up and down the river and damages the natural beauty of the riverbank.

“The trees are important in the riverscape and provide for wildlife. The willow is a typical healthy specimen and must stay.

“This is a preposterous idea and clearly meant to increase the value of non-riverside estates.”

The Henley Society said it wouldn’t support the application due to the loss of trees.

The committee agreed to recommended that permission is refused.

Councillor Laurence Plant said: “Just repairing the slipways is simple to do, the tree doesn’t need to be removed.”

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, is due to make a decision by July 7.

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