Members of the Park Avenue Woodland Group (PAWG) in Broadstairs are rallying to raise funds for a legal case to force a landowner to replant trees felled without permission last year.
Last December Thanet council served notice on Bernard Benn of Parkstairs Ltd to replant 12 of the 44 large trees and countless saplings that were chopped down at the woodland off Park Avenue without permission in February 2020.
On December 24 Mr Benn, the Director of Parkstairs Ltd and owner of the woodland, appealed the replanting notice.
Thanet council had carried out an investigation following complaints over the felling. Parkstairs Ltd said a survey had “identified a number of dead and dying trees which are in a dangerous condition, some of this is due to heavy ivy growth strangling the trees.
Members of the Park Avenue Woodland Group delivered a petition to Thanet council in July requesting the trees be replanted.
In December Thanet council ordered Parkstairs to replant 12 of the trees at the site which were considered to be protected by Area Tree Preservation Orders from 1956 and 1985. This was to have been done by March 31 this year.
Instead the appeal was lodged.
The appeal has yet to be assigned an inspector to cover the case and has not been given a start date. Once that happens Thanet council’s planning department and members of the public will have six weeks to make submissions to the Inspector, before a decision is made.
Undeterred by lack of progress, PAWG have engaged Paul Powlesland, a barrister for GC Law in London, to act for them with legal expertise.
They hope this can be done alongside the council, which has been trying to come to agreeable terms with Mr Benn.
PAWG says members would prefer that the case is heard in person rather than by letter and hope to change the current process.
Parkstairs Ltd is a dormant company, although it is the owner of the land, but there is a current notice to Strike Off the company at Companies House which is dated April 13. This means the company could be dissolved by June 13. The legal impact for the ownership of the land and how to fight the current appeal will be considered by the legal counsel.