Agenda item

Objections to the Crawley Borough Council Tree Preservation Order - Ewhurst Place No.1 - 08/2021

To consider report PES/400 of the Head of Economy and Planning.


RECOMMENDATION to CONFIRM with modification.



The Committee considered report PES/400 of the Head of Economy and Planning which sought to determine whether to confirm the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) – Ewhurst Place No.1 – 08/2021 – with or without modification for continued protection, or not to confirm the TPO.


Councillors A Belben, Burrett, and P Smith declared they had visited the site.  Councillor Jaggard was familiar with the site but had not visited it recently.


The Group Manager (Development Management) provided a verbal summation of the application, which related to two groups of trees on land between the formal grounds of Ewhurst Place and Ifield Drive in Ifield.  The land was the subject of a planning application for residential development which was yet to be determined.  In November 2021 the trees were protected under a six month provisional TPO, which the Committee was now requested to confirm with a modification to omit one of the two tree groups (group A2) from the TPO.  This was due to group A2 lacking the same level of visual amenity as group A1, as well as the potential pressure of regular trimming and maintenance in the event that any future development were to take place at the site.  The trees in group A1 were considered to have significant amenity value and provide an important screen between Ifield Drive and Ewhurst Place and protection was therefore sought.


The Chair called for the Committee to take a brief adjournment to examine documentation that had been sent by the landowners to Committee members prior to the meeting.


Trevor Harman, on behalf of the landowners, spoke in objection to the TPO.  Matters raised included:

·       The landowners had sought to work with the Local Planning Authority to bring forward a planning application for new homes at the same site, which proposed a new planting scheme.  Confirmation of the TPO on the existing trees would hinder these proposals.

·       Only one of the existing trees was considered arboriculturally important, and the arboricultural report showed that the life expectancy of the majority of the trees was approximately 10 to 20 years.

·       The historic value of the trees was queried; archaeological surveys from the 16th century did not show trees in the same location.


The Committee then considered the application.  The following matters were raised as part of the discussion:      

·       Life expectancy of the trees.  A query was raised regarding the rationale behind protecting trees with limited life expectancy; it was explained that a TPO requires a tree to be replaced with a new specimen when the protected tree dies.  TPOs therefore also secure the replenishment of trees in the future and any landscape feature they contribute to.

·       The trees’ categorisation and amenity value.  Several Committee members commented that the trees in group A1 were not of especially high amenity value and therefore queried the need for their protection.  The Planning Officer explained that the majority of the trees were of a lower category, but their value was in the tree group as a whole, which made a valuable visual contribution to the area.

·       The link between the TPO confirmation and the planning application at the same site.  It was clarified that the two matters were separate – if the Committee was to confirm the TPO this would not prevent the planning application from being determined.  If the application required the protected trees to be removed, a mitigation/replanting scheme would need to be considered as part of the application along with other relevant planning considerations.  If a separate application to remove the protected trees was made (outside of a planning application for development), there would be a requirement for the TPO to first be modified and a new specimen replanted.

·       It was clarified that confirming the TPO would protect the trees from being removed or damaged without consent; any future works to the trees would require consent from the Local Planning Authority.


It was requested by Councillor Irvine that a recorded vote be taken on the application.  The names of the Committee members voting for, against, or abstaining were as follows:


For the recommendation to consent:  Councillors A Belben, Burrett, Irvine, Jaggard, Malik, Mwagale, and Raja (7).


Against the recommendation to consent:  Councillor P Smith (1).


Abstentions: None.




Confirm, with modification to remove tree group A2 from the TPO. 




Supporting documents: