Council defends green policies after developer tree felling

by | Jun 12, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Green policies in Rugby have been defended by the borough council after it was accused of letting developers “ride roughshod” over planning conditions by cutting down trees.

Councillors and residents of Lower Hillmorton Road say they are concerned about the safety of trees after several were cut down at the old Rugby College site, where Bellway Homes is building 131 new houses with landscaped public spaces.

Coun Sue Roodhouse, who represents Eastlands Ward, said: “I am not happy at the way Bellway Homes and the council have gone about this. We are extremely concerned about the mature beech and oak trees on the site.

“Residents and councillors should have been informed prior to the works and also held a meeting to discuss how this sensitive site will be redeveloped. Local residents are concerned about which trees are staying and what Bellway Homes will be doing during construction.

“Trees take years to grow but can be chopped down in minutes. The council needs to be tougher in how it allows developers to ride roughshod over planning conditions.”

But a Rugby Borough Council spokesman said a planning officer visited the site last week and there had been no breaches of planning permission.

And council development spokeswoman Coun Heather Timms said a planting scheme agreed with Bellway Homes meant there would be a net gain of 50 trees after the development is finished.

She said: “The council has worked closely with Bellway Homes throughout the planning process to ensure as many trees as possible are retained on site.

“The redevelopment of the former Rugby College site forms part of long term regeneration and investment plans which enabled the new Rugby College campus to be built on Technology Drive.

“As a council, we have a record to be proud of on both protecting and planting trees. We have planted thousands in recent years, including the creation of Diamond Wood and the new green space off Parkfield Road, and our arboriculture team works hard to safeguard our trees for future generations.”

The development’s planning conditions include measures to protect the roots of all retained trees, and a guarantee that new trees must be “be retained in perpetuity”.

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