St Albans tree to remain protected despite 'damaging parked cars'
PUBLISHED: 09:47 17 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:21 17 June 2019
A tree in St Albans is to remain under official protection despite reports that it is causing damage to parked cars.
Landowners had objected to a St Albans district council (SADC) Tree Protection Order (TPO) on a copper beech within the parking area of The Limes on Upper Marlborough Road.
On June 10, SADC's planning (development control) committee central met to determine whether a TPO on the tree should stay.
The objectors argued it had limited amenity value, the roots were damaging a boundary wall, and that debris from the tree had caused damage to cars parked close by.
At the meeting councillors were informed that the mature tree was in good condition, was clearly visible from the highway and that it contributed to the "verdant nature" of the area.
It was said that if any remedial works were needed as a result of damage to structures or to cars, then permission could be applied for.
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The revised TPO - which replaces a previous TPO and includes a number of other trees as well - was subsequently agreed by the committee.
Chair of the meeting, Cllr Janet Churchard, said: "I can't speak for everybody, but I agreed with the officers report that it was a beautiful tree, it is in good condition, and it could be an asset to the area for many years to come.
"If there is evidence that the tree is damaging cars and walls and work needs to be done on the tree, then they can apply to the council. I could not see any reason to refuse the TPO."
The Planning and Building Control Department has been conducting an ongoing review of all the council's TPOs to ensure they are up to date and fit for purpose.
Cutting down, topping, uprooting, damaging or destroying a TPO protected tree, without permission from SADC, is an offence.
Wilfully destroying a protected tree carries a maximum fine of £20,000 per tree, and wilful damage incurs a maximum penalty of £2,500 per tree.
Anyone can check the status of a tree by visiting www.stalbans.gov.uk/environmentandwaste/trees-and-woodlands/treepreservationorders.aspx