Rocester villager is angered after trees he tried to save were cut down

by | Jun 24, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A Rocester father of two has hit out after claiming the council failed to protect ancient trees from being chopped down.

Andrew Hudson, of Home Farm, claims he has been trying to get the trees in the grounds of Barrowhill Hall Residential and Nursing Home, where his farm is based, protected by East Staffordshire Borough Council, but without success.

The 41-year-old, who transformed three farm houses in the grounds of the care home for his family, claims he was told there was no immediate threat to the trees so there was no need for a preservation order.

However, now he has found himself looking at a very different landscape after the trees were felled.

It happened during work to develop the home – something the owners have every right to do as the trees were not subject to any orders.

Mr Hudson told the Advertiser he was ‘outraged and disgusted’ the trees were axed.

He said: “We have been requesting tree preservation orders be placed on trees in the grounds for a number of years due to continual growth and development of the business run there.

“I have emails to the council planning department dating back to 2013 requesting the old mature trees be protected, but every time they just state there is no threat from the development and the owner has no plans to remove any mature trees.

“Now the latest huge planning application has been passed and work has begun. There have been dozens of large mature trees cut down.

“Some of the old oak trees cut down were hundreds of years old and will never be seen again by future generations.

“One oak tree must have been around 300 years old; hundreds of years of growth has just gone.

“It has completely changed the skyline. All I have been told is that if the tree is on their property then they can chop it down; the same as if they are on my property.”

A council spokesman said: “The local planning authority has reacted quickly to recent correspondence following the felling of trees at the property.

“Officers are working with the owner to identify trees that could qualify for a tree preservation order.

“The council is not aware of previous correspondence on this matter.

“Previously the council granted permission for a new build to provide palliative care at Barrowhill Hall residential home.

“At that time tree preservation orders (TPOs) were not placed upon the trees.

“Therefore, when the trees were recently felled, the local planning authority (LPA) had no powers to take any form of enforcement action.

“Two weeks ago the LPA received from a neighbour a request for the remaining mature trees to have TPOs.

“The council’s planning officers are in discussions with the owner to identify if any of the specimens can be protected.

“The application to fell the trees did not originate from the borough council.”