Success in battle to preserve hospital trees

PUBLISHED: 14:26 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 12:45 06 May 2010

TREE Preservation Orders (TPOs) have been placed on hundreds of specimens on a former psychiatric hospital site earmarked for a housing development. St Albans District Council have been battling for two years to safeguard them. The council first tried to

TREE Preservation Orders (TPOs) have been placed on hundreds of specimens on a former psychiatric hospital site earmarked for a housing development.

St Albans District Council have been battling for two years to safeguard them. The council first tried to protect the trees on the Harperbury Hospital site in Radlett with TPOs in January 2006 but the Secretary of State for Health objected to the move on the grounds of Crown immunity.

Another objection was also voiced by the chief executive of the Herts Partnership NHS Trust which runs the psychiatric facilities on the site.

However, later that year the Department of Health lost the privilege of refusal when the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 was implemented, which meant the council no longer needed consent from the Government to serve any TPOs on the site.

The hospital was once designated purely for patients with mental illness but it is now largely derelict, although plans are currently in place to build a new psychiatric intensive care ward and a rehabilitation ward on the site, along with the refurbishment of the existing building.

A large part of the site has reverted back to the Secretary of State for Health who plans to build an unknown number of homes and a planning application for new housing is expected shortly.

To restrict the number of trees lost to the development, the council has served another set of orders on the site which was approved at last week's planning committee south meeting.

There are now 218 trees, 19 groups of trees and six areas of woodland protected under the order.


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