Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Cotham School trees update

An update on my earlier posting about the loss of mature trees at Cotham School. From meetings with the planning and tree officers at the Council, it has been confirmed that eight trees have been removed without permission. Four of these were small and young and easily replaced. The remaining four were large, mature trees - over 15m high and probably around 150 years old. They were a holm oak, two sycamores and a beech.

I have written formally to the Project Manager at Skanska (the contractor doing the building works) and to the Director of Children, Young People & Skills at the Council (as they have overall responsibility for the land). I have demanded a full explanation of what has happened and compensation for the loss commensurate with the CAVAT value of the trees. I have also issued a press release about the lost trees and I am hoping that we get some good coverage to support the campaign.

You can see here some before (courtesy of Google Street Level) and after photos of the site showing exactly what's been lost - quite striking, isn't it! You can see why I and others are furious! More updates in due course - this one is going to run and run, I fear...


PZ said...

The school keeps breaching planning conditions, just look at all the planning breaches registered with

At least once it would be good if the Council actually did something about it. This is a major breach and any number of tiny saplings do not replace 150 year old trees.

I hope residents are just as outraged when the school finally submits revised plans for putting two tarmac football pitches on the playing fields.

Neil Harrison said...

All I can say is that I am working on it. I don't think the School itself is implicated - I am still trying to work who exactly is. Skanska are denying responsibility and I am awaiting a briefing from the planning officers to explain to me why there is a difference of opinion.

I agree about the saplings. I am asking for the full CAVAT value and semi-mature (20+) trees, which I understand from specialists to be the largest one can replant.

PZ said...

It has been three months now and still nothing seems to have happened.

If I were Skanska I would feel like I have got away with chopping these trees down.

This seems to have lost momentum, hopefully Neil you have some news on this?

Neil Harrison said...

I met with the Director of Children & Young People's Services yesterday. I have finally got agreement that they will work with Planning to do a joint investigation. Up to now, the former seem to been focused on excusing Skanska rather than holding them to account.

It's actually nearly four months and I am very frustrated too. I am hoping that we are back on the right track.