The demolition of a locally important dwellinghouse in Surrey to facilitate the erection of three detached houses has been refused because the appellants had failed to properly assess the likely impact on a protected beech tree.
In agreeing with the appellants that the existing dwelling, which was listed on the council’s register of buildings of character, was of limited architectural and historic value, an inspector also concluded that the siting of two of the dwellings to the rear of the plot would not be out of character with the area. However, the protected beech tree which lay one metre from the site boundary had not been assessed in an initial report by the appellant’s arboricultural consultant. A supplementary report concluded that the tree was ‘not particularly prepossessing’ without giving an indication as to its condition and quality. In the inspector’s opinion it was a ‘notable presence’ and was valued as part of a woodland group. The siting of one of the dwellings would mean a significant reduction in its crown, impacting on its shape, proportions and amenity value. The supplementary report also failed to consider the potential pressure for the tree to be further pruned or potentially removed post-development. This would further harm the verdant character and appearance of the area, he held, and the appeal was dismissed.Article source