Councils clash on Deepings holly trees

  Posted: 28.07.20 at 16:31 by The Editor

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Independent Councillors in Market Deeping have accused South Kesteven District Council of a "nonchalant attitude" to the felling of trees in the heart of the historic town.

Their criticism follows the council granting approval to a householder in Church Street to fell three holly trees said to be damaging a nearby wall.

In a report recommending the application be approved, the council's tree officer commented: "The works are sufficiently minor not to detract from the appearance of the conservation area or its enjoyment by members of the public."

But Market Deeping Town Council told the council: "The Town Council object to these works being undertaken. These trees are along a heritage footpath in the conservation area. They substantially enhance the main driveway access to the cemetery and contribute significantly to the surrounding area."

The town council added: "They are all substantial in size and to remove them completely would have a detrimental effect on the character of the driveway to the cemetery.

"There is a large significant gap between the trees and the wall where the damage has been highlighted and there are other shrubs planted near to the wall.

"No definitive evidence that it is the trees that have caused
the damage has been provided. The Council wish, therefore, for the trees to remain."

The district councillors say the trees are thought to be more than 40 years and they believe they are valuable to the town and the local ecology.

They point out the trees are very close to the ancient church of St Guthlac, as well as the town cemetery and the ‘Rectory Paddock’ which the town council has transformed into an awarding conservation site managed positively for wildlife.

South Kesteven District councillor Ashley Baxter (Ind- Market and West Deeping) told Nub News: "Removing three mature trees in such an important location is going to undermine the eco-systems and biodiversity of the area which hopefully everyone would wish to protect”.

Before SKDC agreed to allow the trees to be felled by a property owner, Coun Baxter called for SKDC to further investigate how the trees were damaging the wall.

Fellow Independent ward councillor Virginia Moran, who also sits on the town council’s planning and highways committee told Nub News: “Yet again, pen-pushers in Grantham are making ill-informed decisions about issues in the Deepings in spite of protests by local elected representatives of the people who actually live here."

Last year, South Kesteven District Council began working with the Woodland Trust on a Tree Charter for Local Government , following pressure from Coun Baxter and others calling for the council to develop a 'tree strategy.'

Coun Baxter added: “It seems the Council’s commitment to trees and hedges doesn’t extend far beyond a few photo-opportunities”.

Today, SKDC issued a statement on the matter: "Each planning application is determined on its merits using relevant criteria in accordance with national planning policy. SKDC benefits from expert advice on both conservation and tree issues to inform such decisions."

SKDC further told Nub News: "The council has a strong record on environmental matters including a partnership with Wyndham Park Forum to plant 75 trees in a D-Day commemorative orchard; launching rewilding pilot projects in each of its four towns; declaring a climate emergency and publishing its carbon footprint baseline with options for carbon reduction."

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