Dartmouth Green Partnerships concerned by planning applications

by | Nov 1, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News


Dartmouth Green Partners­hips is concerned that several recent planning applications and decisions will have a negative impact on the town’s environment.

It wants to see a list of conditions met before any further tree or hedgerow felling takes place.

‘Development and the changing use of dwellings often mean that the town’s trees and gardens are disappearing,’ said DGP chairman Stevie Rogers.

But town councillors have defended their reputation on policies and landscape management and planning committee chairman Cllr David Gent said: I like trees and they are important but we feel DGP may be trespassing on areas that are Dartmouth Town Council’s business and not theirs.’

DGP has written to the council’s planning committee highlighting worries over the loss of certain species in recent weeks, some that were the subject of a tree preservation order.

In September, councillors reluctantly recommended the felling of a giant oak tree at Paradise Point, Ravensbury Drive, Warfleet, after a tree surgeon had advised it could become dangerous in high winds and rain and the huge roots could bring up the road.

Ms Rogers said the application to fell the landmark oak had fortunately been refused by officers at South Hams Council.

‘Concern has also been expressed to us, about the speedy approval by South Hams Council for the felling of the Robinia pseudoacacia in Anzac Square,’ she said. ‘A five-day notice was allowed for the felling of this tree and it was due for removal even before the date of the October town council planning meeting, so forfeiting any input from the town.

Fortunately, it has now been decided, after being looked at by the Devon County Council tree expert, that because the tree was found to have a fungus and although safe, has other issues, leading to conclude that it should be replaced with a large specimen tree of another species.

‘DCC is now also safeguarding the future of the adjacent Maple with remedial work and is intending to do a much needed tidy up of this town square.’

Ms Rogers said it was of ‘some concern’ that anyone purporting to be the ‘owner’ of a tree could apply and receive approval for the swift removal of a neighbouring tree, without the necessary searches being observed fully.

‘Another application causing many in the town some concern is the felling of the copse in front of Howden’s buildings in Townstal, where an application for development was conditionally approved for seven dwellings,’ she said. ‘Besides being a wildlife habitat, this small copse had been planted to screen off the industrial buildings from the view of the local residents.

‘The copse has now unfortunately been felled and another wildlife habitat lost, but work on the construction of the dwellings has been halted, and they may not be constructed at all, due to drainage problems, as a stream runs under the site.

‘Will this site be replanted if building is unviable?’

Ms Rogers said DGP would like to see the town council being pro-active in establishing that certain conditions are met before any tree or hedgerow felling application in the town is approved.

‘Firstly it should be established, without doubt, who the owner of the site and the associated trees actually is and that their approval has been obtained,’ she said.

‘Secondly, no removal of habitats and/or felling of trees should be undertaken until it has been established with certainty that the sites are actually suitable for development.

‘Lastly, that the town council should seek advice from wherever possible concerning any application which will be detrimental to the town’s “green” landscape.’

Cllr Gent said the planning committee would be considering the letter from DGP and responding in due course.

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