Demonstration in Broadstairs to urge residents to act over Oak tree felling and woodland decimation appeal

Demonstration to protect the Oak and restore woodland trees off Park Avenue Photo Carl Hudson

Some 30 people – and two dogs – turned out at the weekend to join a demonstration encouraging people to lodge their views over  plans to fell a mature Turkey Oak tree and over a separate appeal by a landowner against replanting a decimated forest area.

The gathering met on Saturday at the site of an under-threat tree at Broadstairs Cricket Club.

The Oak, which has a tree preservation order, is subject to an application for felling due to damage the tree has caused to the adjacent property in Park Close. A report says there is not adequate space to install a root barrier for such a large tree

Numerous objections have been lodged.

Photo Carl Hudson

The group, which included Rev David Tate from St Peter’s church, Councillor Ruth Bailey and other members of Park Avenue Woodland Group, was also highlighting the need to submit views for an appeal by a landowner who cut down more than 40 trees at woodland off Park Avenue. Objections to that appeal are also being backed by Green councillor Mike Garner.

Last December Thanet council served notice on Bernard Benn of Parkstairs Ltd to replant 12 of the 44 large trees and other saplings that were chopped down at the site without permission in February 2020.

Photo Carl Hudson

On December 24 Mr Benn, the Director of Parkstairs Ltd and owner of the woodland, appealed the replanting notice.

Rev Tate said: “We had a good response on Saturday to our last minute arranged gathering in Park Avenue to protest about the action taken against trees.

“People who understand the benefits trees bring to the environment wish to retain Tree 33 (at the cricket club) and preserve the woodland off Park Avenue.

Photo Carl Hudson

“The old oak Tree numbered 33 has been standing for upwards of 200 years or more and ought to remain to be enjoyed by our great, great, great, grandchildren. It’s healthy as far as we know, the tree people say it’s a healthy tree, and there’s no good reason why it should be taken down.

“If you took just one branch of this tree and replaced it with another small tree it would take years for that small tree to be as good and do the work that one branch does. So, you can see that if this is pulled down how much devastation it would do to the environment as well as to the amenities here.

“What we are asking people to do is object to the planning application. This tree is really owned by Thanet District Council, it’s on their land, so we are waiting to see what they will do when they look at the planning application.

Photo Carl Hudson

“We’re asking people to submit objections to that planning application. TPO/TH/21/1063 | B/TPO/1(1956)A48 – 1No Oak (T3) – fell | Broadstairs Cricket Club The Pavilion Park Avenue BROADSTAIRS Kent CT10 2EX (thanet.gov.uk)

“A yellow ribbon with messages of support is tied around the tree, and we hope that our great, great, great grandchildren will be able to enjoy the shade of Tree 33!

Photo Carl Hudson

“The other area is the woodland on Park Avenue which was decimated by the felling of more than 40 trees in 2020. Following an Enforcement Notice issued by Thanet council to replace 12 trees, an appeal was made by the landowner and is now being considered by a Planning Inspector in Bristol.

“Objections to the appeal can be made to: treeandhedgeappeals@planninginspectorate.gov.uk Quote Ref: APP/TRN/Z2260/8310.

“We have also made contact with Roderick Morton of Ivy Legal, the consultant/solicitor acting for Thanet council. He is happy to receive information and evidence. Photographs of people in the woods and trees are particularly useful. You can email him at roderick.morton@ivylegal.co.uk.

“Thanet cannot afford to lose any woodland area for housing development. We are so dependent upon trees for our future.”

Cllr Bailey is also backing the call to save the Oak tree.

Photo Carl Hudson

She said: “This tree is of high amenity value, we have a paucity of trees in Broadstairs generally and not many Oak trees of this age are still in existence in what was a previously highly wooded area.

“The tree is in very good condition, is stable with a well-balanced crown and will be supporting a whole host of wildlife. It was the responsibility of the builder to have taken into account the proximity of the trees in this area and to have taken the necessary precautions when building on London clay and to have ensured that the footings were suitably deep enough.

“It is my understanding that the land the oak stands on is owned by Thanet District Council and so it is doubly important that the council leads by example and adheres to its declared position on climate change, and being a champion for biodiversity, and retains this excellent example of an English Oak tree.”

Photo Carl Hudson

Cllr Bailey is also urging people to object to the Park Avenue woodland appeal. She said: “It was recently reported that there has been a huge increase nationwide of ‘illegal’ tree felling ahead of stricter rules coming in through the Government’s new Environmental Bill.

“Examples need to be set and, in our small corner of the world, we need to hold the landowners of this felled woodland to account for their cynical actions. Please support TDC in fighting the appeal against their enforcement order to replant the trees in Park Avenue by sending in your objections to James Ledsham at the Planning Inspectorate and Roderick Morton at Ivy Legal.”

Photo Carl Hudson

Enthusiastic amateur tree advocate Andrew Nolan will lead a tree walk with some history of the area on Saturday, August 28 from 2pm. He will focus on helping people to identify tree species and discuss the features and environmental benefits of species. Participants can also get involved during the walk by taking some tree measurements and estimating the ages of trees.

Supporter Gill Todd has agreed to co-ordinate the walk. Anyone interested in taking part can contact her on gilltodd2011@hotmail.co.uk