Tree felling in Cliftonville halted by council and investigation underway

The tree has already been cut back but may be saved from being chopped down

A tree in Cliftonville that was due to be cut down in the morning (October 20) has been given a reprieve following a complaint.

The mature tree, thought to be a Rowan, at Thanet Indoor Bowls Club was cut back heavily today with felling scheduled for the morning.

But Thanet Trees group protested about the works, saying the tree is in a conservation area and requires planning permission from Thanet council to be felled.

Thanet council confirmed officers have now contacted club bosses to tell them to halt works. An investigation will also take place,

.A Thanet Trees spokesperson said: “This lovely tree was the only mature tree on this stretch of coastline, providing much needed habitat for birds, and in particular migratory birds, which often struggle to find somewhere to land after their long journey to our coastline.

“It gave much joy to the locals who live in the flats opposite, particularly during lockdown when birds could be seen flying in and out of the tree at all times.

“Thanet Indoor Bowls claim it has to be felled to stop drug use and other bad behaviour. We ask why CCTV isn’t used to catch troublemakers.”

Photo Peter Blem

Thanet Indoor Bowls have said the roots of the tree are going under the building and causing damage. Thanet Trees disputed this.

A Thanet Trees spokesperson said: “We  put in an urgent request for the TDC tree officer and local councillor Alan Currie to halt this felling pending an investigation.

“TDC recently announced the appointment of a Climate Change officer and a raft of environmental initiatives designed to protect biodiversity and habitat in Thanet. Now is the time for TDC to step up and let the people of Thanet know that this destruction is completely unacceptable..”

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The council is aware of the works after receiving a complaint from a member of the public. We have contacted the Thanet Indoor Bowls Centre directly and have requested that they cease work.

“We have instigated an investigation into this activity and will provide an update on any formal enforcement action in due course.”

A request for comment has been sent to Thanet Indoor Bowls Club who lease the site. The club has been established – as Margate Indoor Bowls Club – since 1932 and has been based at the Cliftonville site since 1988. The Margate club and the Kentish Ladies combined in 2008 to create the Thanet Indoor Bowls Club.


  1. They have butchered the poor tree. Why is it a tree is worth more dead than alive? We are in a climate emergency and trees should be seen as assets not liabilities!

    • not every tree is an asset, I have a sycamore thats litteraly destroying my home, and the council slapped a tree protection order on it, now my hands are tied, they wont even pay for the damage it causes!!!

    • The tree is pretty close to the building, would likely need to be reported to insurers who will then decline to cover root damage. Yes the council declared a climate emergency, but still they refuse to allow double glazing in listed buildings and are pushing ahead with the homeless hostel plans in a listed building which will have little if any insulation yet be heated pretty much 24/7 . One of the reasons cited for the need for new council offices was energy efficiency , in a building around 200 years newer and better insulated than the old british legion. That building alone will be responsible for enough carbon emissions to make this one tree an inconsequence. Cherry trees and many others were planted as street decoration and its very unlikely the designer ever thought they were meant to be there forever. Efforts should be put into protecting areas of woodland , orbit were allowed to remove the trees on their margate development with no intervention of any importance. TDC is a dysfunctional organisation that is incompetent, amateurish, possibly criminal , most certainly inept and in many cases staffed by those for whom it is nothing more than a paypacket each month.

  2. Thank goodness that Thanet Trees saw fit to report this.
    How can they even be attempting the works without the correct permissions? They should be ashamed of themselves, that ooor tree will take ages to recover.
    I hope they are fined and made to plant trees as penance.
    Well done TDC for putting the planet first

  3. Totally agree with Realistic Girl’s comments. Thanet has too few trees as it is. We should be planting more not cutting down those that we have 😥

  4. I hope these people are prosecuted and it serves as a deterrent for the future. It beggars belief that people still don’t get it!

  5. “Thanet Indoor Bowls claim it has to be felled to stop drug use and other bad behaviour.”

    Get a motion detector light put on side of building to start with see if that helps, if not CCTV in addition. Cheaper to cut down a tree I guess.

  6. Saddened and shocked that the bowls club think it’s ok to cut down a harmless tree. They should be inclined to plant more on the land. The benefits are great.

  7. They have risked a fine up to £20,000 in going ahead with works to a tree that is protected without the local authority consent, hoping nobody would notice. The tree is also on public land leased by the bowling centre and they have no good reason to be so badly cutting it back in any case.
    This last remaining tree along this section of Cliftonville holds a high amenity value among local residents and the public as it’s in a public area and scarce. It has an intrinsic value for it’s beauty and is environmentally important habitat for birds. As an area of England, Thanet is in the bottom 2% for it’s tree population so every single tree that remains is extremely important.
    To say that drug users use the tree along with other bad behaviour makes no sense as they cannot hide behind it, would they even climb it?, not likely.

    • Yet you have TDC being complicit and turning a blind eye to contravention of planning and lustrd building regulations by a group they have a commercial relationship with, mainly as they had full knowledge of what was happening and it suited them. So don’t think anyone is going to be fined for cutting a single tree down. Even tdc aren’t that daft.

  8. This tree was not the reason for drug taking or bad behaviour. What an incredible thing to suggest. I will never use Thanet Indoor Bowls and i hope they get the fine they deserve.

  9. Short sighted ignorance from the Bowl’s club and they deserve a massive fine for their blatant environmental vandalism. They should also be made to purchase some semi mature trees from a garden Center and plant them within the club grounds to compensate for their stupidity and selfishness.

    Thanet is amongst the most tree deprived area’s in England and every tree is now more important to preserve than ever before. The businesses and developers that seem intent on destroying our last pockets of nature need to punished severely with massive fines.

    We are in a climate emergency and idiots still think it’s justifiable to wipe out our last remaining wildlife habitats and chop down our pathetically low tree stocks. Thanet council needs to do its but for the environment and its residents and start prosecuting the fools who are waging war on our wildlife and tress.

  10. That’s a very ugly building, considering it’s in a conservation area.

    Mike Shannon is right, not every tree is an asset. I am surprised that nobody seems to know what kind of tree it is next too the blue shed.

  11. If it IS in a Conservation Area(not sure, I’ll have to check) under Section 211 the owner must ask permission of the local Council to cut down any tree exceeding 75 cms diameter. If they don,t ask, and give locals the time to discuss, they can be fined up to £20K and, under Section 207, they must replant the tree.
    Local Councils may well be sympathetic if the tree really is a problem.
    But, as with much else, you must really check first. Not just go ahead a chop it down in the belief that the environment only starts OUTSIDE your boundary.

  12. Do TDC have a plant-a-tree scheme?When I lived in Gravesham the Council gave people free trees once a year, a choice of about five varieties. Only stipulation was that you had to plant it where people could see it.We had a beautiful flowering cherry in our front garden.

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