LETTER: Lamentable response

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Re: “Outrage as ‘historic’ trees get the chop (Crawley Observer February 22, 2017).”

The Crawley Borough Council spokesman’s reported response to the above is as lamentable as the prospective developer’s action in felling mature trees before making a planning application.

CBC needs to re-examine the effect of what its planning spokesmen say in these circumstances if it wants to deter ‘pre-emptive felling by cynical or ignorant developers, rather than giving unwarranted legitimacy and encouragement to the increasing problem of ‘pre-emptive felling’ of trees on development sites.

To simply say that ‘none of the trees had protection orders’ is an abdication of responsibility and denial of the rational approach to tree protection promoted in CBC’s own Supplementary Planning Document - Green Infrastructure – Part 3: Trees. This document explains that trees are a material planning consideration regardless of whether they have tree preservation orders, and how a pre-application tree survey process is intended to enable the council to consider the value of the trees in relation to a development proposal; not simply to accept the word of a developer and his tree expert - after he has cut them down. The clear and sensible aim of the council’s own document is to maintain existing tree cover, pending the implementation of a planning permission, so that if for any reason a development proposal does not go ahead the trees will not have been removed unnecessarily.

John Cooban

Three Bridges

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