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 (

“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: [email protected] 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 [email protected].

“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 [email protected]


  1. surely this is one of the Waterloo Memorial Trees that were planted all at the same time. If I had started cutting trees down, then the enforcement officer would, and did at times, appear like a genie. What has come to TDC that they have no heritage left. They need somebody with history of Thanet on the staff, to protect our history.

    • I believe I have read something a long way back about how important these Oaks are. There is even a road named after them called The Oaks in the vicinity.
      The more probable reason to fell is that the leaves fall on the camper van in the garden backing onto it. There would need to be a full independent survey and evidence that this tree has caused any damage. The area does suffer from subsidence and that should be investigated rather than just blame a tree that was there long before any houses were built. There are measures that the owner of the house can and should take to protect his building without the need to fell a majestic memorial oak in any case.

  2. I agree with the above comments. We should do everything to prevent cutting trees, especially those aged 200years. The benefit of these trees is clear, to the environment, the local habitat and to humans.The Council must robustly resist this environmental vanadium.

  3. I am very flattered to be called a tree expert but enthusiastic amateur tree advocate with some knowledge of trees is more accurate. (I realise that doesn’t have the same impact!)

      • Thank you very much for the prompt change Kathy Bailes. Could I bother you once more and ask you to change the Tree Walk time to 10am? I had to change as I didn’t want to disrupt an afternoon cricket match!

  4. TDC won’t allow the tree to be cut down, otherwise their “Climate Emergency” would make them look like hypocrites…

  5. Objection to fell filed and appeal against replanting objected to.
    This guy is clearly just trying to develop on the land.

  6. In my days as a local tree surgeon I had calls to several trees in that area, also many oak trees involved with houses. In all that time an oak tree was never deemed to have caused a problem with foundations. It is well known that Park Avenue is built on clay and many houses have had to have extensive underpinning. At the end of the day, the tree was there first. My own house in Bromston Road would open up with cracks in the summer and close up in the winter.

  7. Trees are now more vital than ever, given the increasing effects of Climate Change. They protect us from flooding, air pollution, the noise and unsightliness of motor traffic, and then mop up carbon dioxide. Wildlife thrive in and on them.
    Oaks can live up to 1,000 years, and yews at least another three times longer. But although the UK is blessed with more veteran trees than any other country in Europe, it is also the least wooded in Europe, except for Southern Ireland.
    Let’s start looking after Thanet’s trees. Like our Grade 1 agricultural soil, we can’t afford to lose them.

  8. We need to know how many staff at TDC are actually employed in enforcing Planning Regulations. Which includes tree preservation etc.
    If TDC are like the other councils round here (Dover DC are a good example) there are virtually no staff involved in this work, or, at least, one or two harassed individuals who simply can’t get around every issue in time.
    Builders and developers know this so they go ahead and chop trees down and lay waste to local environments knowing that the local council(and it isn’t just Thanet!) just won’t have the money or the staff to take them to Court to enforce the Planning law.
    When central government keeps cutting back the money allocated to local councils(and this started WAY BEFORE Covid!) something has got to go. And it was easy to reduce the number of staff in Planning Depts because they had been portrayed as bureaucrats and pen pushers anyway.
    So we end up with the property developers (who were elected by precisely nobody) deciding what happens to our local environment while the councillors who were, at least, elected by the local voters, barely able to protect us.
    I think its called “controlled democracy”.(You get to vote but it won’t change anything!)

  9. According to data published by the Local Government Association, TDC is a high spender on HQ services but a low spender on planning services…I wonder where the money goes instead?

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