Bid to save Ramsgate street’s only mature tree from being felled

Cllr Wing says there were no notices about the tree felling

A Ramsgate councillor is calling for a rethink on plans to fell a large Sycamore tree in Addington Street/Nelson Crescent.

Cllr Becky Wing managed to halt workmen from bringing the tree down yesterday (June 21) and says there had been no notification to residents or councillors about the plans.

Cllr Wing says the tree, which is the only mature tree in the street, is an important site for birds and cutting it down during nesting season would likely be illegal.

She said: “I asked if they were aware the tree is in a conservation zone and they showed me the paperwork from Thanet council which does seem to give permission. “However, given I walk along this road and Nelson Crescent, there appears to have been no ‘notices’ posted on lampposts to inform residents. This was confirmed by a number of residents I spoke to, living close by, who have also seen no notices and are now shocked at the decision to fell.

“I have been back through the regular notices we receive from planning as I am certain I would have picked up on this one given it is a significant tree in the area and much loved by locals. The application TCA/TH/22/0524 was received by TDC on 11th April and was not on the notices I received as a ward councillor on 11 April, 19th April, 25th April or 3rd May.

“The Tree Officer Report confirms the following, despite then sadly recommending felling. He states the tree is ‘visible along Addington Street’ and is ‘locally prominent’. Further adding it is a ‘reasonably distinct feature of the street scene’.

“It is a key feature of our street and an important site for birds and given we are in the nesting season, it would have been irresponsible and possibly illegal to fell it now, as birds regularly use it as the only mature trees in the area.”

Cllr Wing says although the town council did not call the application in to be discussed, officers were unaware that ward councillors had not been informed.

The tree is being felled on behalf of Sanctuary Housing, which says in its application: “It’s overshadowing small gardens and causing structural damage to the boundary wall due to the close proximity.”

The Tree Officer report says: “As a mature tree, it has developed a large, spreading crown and appears to be growing to almost entirely cover a small courtyard area to the rear of the property.

“The tree is growing immediately adjacent to a tall brick boundary wall. Although not significant at present, there are cracks developing in the wall in the immediate vicinity of the tree.

“Only significant crown reduction would make much difference to the overhang and, if the tree survived such drastic works, would need to be repeated on a regular basis to manage re-growth and the likely structural issues resulting from the creation of large cuts to the framework of the tree.

“However this management would not stop the incremental growth in the circumference of the main stem of the
tree, leading to further and on-going damage to the boundary wall.

“Despite the contribution the tree makes to the visual amenity of the immediate area, on balance, I do not
therefore consider it appropriate to retain this tree and recommend that it would not be expedient to make a
Tree Preservation Order in this case.”

Cllr Wing said: “I feel the proper process has not been followed which would have allowed ward councillors and, more importantly residents, the chance to comment on something which is an important aspect of their community.”

Cllr Wing added that the felling team were going to bring the tree down but the street is narrow and, she believes, a road closure would need to be in place to carry out the work safely.

However, a Thanet council spokesperson said damage to the wall has outweighed the significance of retaining the tree.

The spokesperson added: “The tree in question is in the Ramsgate Conservation Area, and is impacting on a Grade II listed wall. Having sought professional advice which advised against placing a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on the tree, no TPO was made. This means the tree is not protected and works to fell it can go ahead, subject to legislation on the protection of wild birds as is set out in The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

“We do understand the value of mature trees in the district, including where trees are in conservation areas and are integral to the street scene. In this instance however, the adjacent Grade II listed wall is of significant importance to the conservation area.

“We do not issue notification letters for works to trees within a Conservation Area. Although there is no legislative requirement to do so, we do publish information on our website and put up a site notice.

“The contractor is responsible for taking any necessary safety measures in relation to works carried out.”

UPDATE:

Sanctuary say due to the concerns raised they will pause the work to allow for further discussion.

A spokesperson for Sanctuary said: “In early April, our tree surgeon put forward formal notice to Thanet District Council to remove the tree due to the structural damage it is causing a nearby boundary wall. This wall is starting to present a real risk to public safety.

“While no issues were raised within the required 6-week period after the notice was put in, following local concerns expressed this week, we have decided to pause the work to allow for further discussions.”

48 Comments

  1. Beautiful tree, can they trim the sides? Just keep an eye on the hight but please there’s no need to trim all off!! We need more trees!! I live on an avenue that’s supposed to have trees on the green areas , so KCC has filled the green areas with asphalt so cars can park on them, trees have been cut off … it doesn’t look like an “Avenue “ it looks like a “street” and that’s a HUGE difference!!!!

  2. What is it with this area and letting trees go wild. The roots do so much damage. I love trees but please please maintain them. They need controlling.

    • Perhaps the tree could be left for a few months and cut down in winter when the leaves have fallen.

      Sycamores are beautiful trees but they are not suitable for towns. I have noticed quite a few sycamore seedlings growing in various Ramsgate streets recently. These should all be removed while they are still small, before they develop a large root system and start to cause damage.

      • Marva Rees

        100% correct

        People say they are good for wildlife. But a sycamore is to open for birds to nest in. Birds need tight trees to build nests.

        A sycamore is not for towns.

        • Sorry, but not true. Many types of bird nest in sycamore. Trees are not just for nesting in though, they offer safe haven, birds eye views and are home to insects, which serve as food and more broadly act as important pollinators. And of course trees very effectively convert carbon dioxide into oxygen

  3. Trees are one of the ways we can reverse climate change. If they plan to cut tdc should plan to plant and LOOK AFTER 10 more trees.

    • Indeed, trees are a Huge contribution to absorbing fumes that come from Cars fumes, we’re talking about, oil, coal, now uranium that makes cars electric ffs wake up people!!! Our trees are absorbing these poisonous stuff! We need trees to do their work! We don’t need cars to keep on giving these poisonous breathing elements. WE NEED OUR TREES TO TAKE CARE OF US !

    • Another way to fight climate change is to stop driving internal combustion engines cars, and stop flying.
      Trees are super things for lots of reasons, but reversing climate change isn’t one of them. You’d need to plant 100s of trees to counter the effect of one transatlantic flight, and keep on replacing them every 50-60 years (however long lived the trees were).

    • I agree trees are the only reverse climate change. Ban them from driving cars and planes etc. Make the trees walk their saplings to tree school etc.

      I read that sea grass is better at storing carbon than trees ….just saying

  4. People need homes to live in . These roots do damage. Have trees that look like they live in a wood or forest or park in THAT BLOOMING PLACE. Not a back garden. Control them.

  5. No cut it down cement it over like everything else that TDC does we can’t have anything looking nice and well kept in Thanet it’s not in TDC nature.

  6. It’s not well kept is it. Control it, trim it, and be real about it. Honestly you lot love to moan. It’s not looked after. Never clearly has been.

  7. Sidney how do you look after a tree do you give it an hug or kiss now and then or give it 400 gallons of water as a treat??
    Don’t talk daft, just cut it down. TDC will be pleased.

  8. Dont be stupid. Trees need pruning, lopping. They cannot grow wild in a back garden. Forest yes, park yes, woods, yes. I have trees in my garden. I contain them. Trees are like anything, cannot go feral. I have never know an area like this for moaning.

  9. That wall is easily repaired or rebuilt, to protect and preserve that tree, which gives us life every moment it is there. The climate and biodiversity emergency is real, so every mature tree lost that we could have saved, will hurt us and our children in ways we cannot yet imagine.

    • Perhaps we could take a section of wall out then rebuild on a lintel allowing room for roots to spread and maybe the odd hedgehog to enter the garden. At the very least give the tree a reprieve till winter.

      • It’d be a very odd hedgehog if it wanted to live in a town where many of the houses have very small gardens and/or are isolated from a large enough green site to have hedgehogs in it.

  10. I’m saying kill it, I’m saying prune it, lopping it, maintaining it. The wall can be repaired but the tree will collapse it time n time again. The tree needs to be controlled.

  11. Why can’t it be trimmed and maintained? Does Sanctuary prefer the cheaper option?

    We have an embarrassing and weird and worrying lack of trees in Thanet. Decisions like this need the scrutiny of Becky Wing, who cares for and looks out for us all in Ramsgate.

    There’s nothing wrong, at all, with objecting to, and being horrified by, a beautiful mature tree being felled because the other option is too expensive. As the report says, it would need regular maintenance.

    Good. Do that then Sanctuary. Please.

  12. There is a bigger issue. Maybe the tree needs to be felled, or pollarded or left as it is. But the point is NOBODY was informed this was going to happen. THAT is the problem of our whole culture , not just in Thanet. Company managers make decisions to benefit themselves and expect the workforce to put up with it. Local Authority managers make decisions about tree work and just expect the locals to shrug and put up with it. This is a society that is too accustomed to being run by autocrats.
    In our “democracy”, we get to vote once every few years , and then we sit around waiting for what disaster “our elected representatives” conjure up.
    It is a recipe for a disgruntled population who expect less and less of those in power ,so we become endless, cynical “moaners” but without much enthusiasm to do much about it.
    This tree issue might seem trivial but there is a lot to consider.
    For instance ,I know that Dover District Council has had a similar attitude to tree work. They just decide -rightly or wrongly-to take action with a tree and its a lottery whether the local Council or councillors are informed. Even the Conservation Areas around Dover District are not guaranteed to be informed if the tree-surgeons are on their way.
    But, at least, I think that Dover District Council have a promise that they will plant 2 (or is it 3 ?) replacement trees for every one that is cut down on their land.
    Which is something, I suppose.
    As for trees in an urban setting , well, it IS possible to have street after street of urban trees, if the situation is suitable and the trees are of a suitable species and growing habit.
    In fact, it is absolutely marvellous to have trees all along our streets. And not so unusual, either. After all, how did the London Plane get its name? By being planted in a distant forest?

  13. What further discussion should there be? This tree is clearly self-seeded- no one would deliberately plant a sycamore in such a small back garden. No amount of public discussion is going to change the fact that the tree is already damaging the wall.

    TDC does take care of street trees. Pruning is carried out on them. Yet some people complain when pruning takes place!

  14. Is there any way it could be shrunk into a Bonsai tree and taken indoors to join its late relatives who were made into furniture, just an idea. Bill

  15. Trim the tree. And, if at all possible, plant two more in the area that don’t grow as tall or spread as much as sycamore. After a couple of years, when the other trees are well-established, cut the sycamore down. This kind of action should be routine for the council.

    Trees grow really well in this country. People love ’em, they improve quality of life and are environmentally important. But there’s no need to get sentimental about them, they need to be managed in the urban environment with a plan to increase their overall number over time. If this was an ancient oak then of course different considerations would apply.

  16. Save the tree people years ago used to plant trees in their garden close to walls to add height to their bedding plants this was normal then now we use tall flowers too do this. As a grade 2 listed wall there is a a repair done to it which is not caused by the tree as to far away which has not been done as sympathetic to the original brick & mortar, no thought as to it being a grade 2 listed wall or it being a conservation area, it does do the job but for saving a few pounds could have been finished in line with the rest of the wall. But no it’s one thing after another no actual thought from those who serve us, why was no notice of the tree to be felled erected on street posts or posted in letter in a close proximity because either they hopped the work was done without anyone saying anything or they couldn’t be bothered to do there job. At least sanctuary housing did everything by the book, and if councillor Wing had not stepped in their would be no tree any more just an ugly stump unless they intended to take up the whole tree roots as well. We need more trees not less

  17. No one is saying we dont need more trees. Just the right tree in the right environment.

    Sycamore are woodland trees.

    But even in woodland it would still need management.

  18. Thanet council lot of ignorant idiots why are you even considering cutting the tree which has birds etc nesting it’s been there a lot longer than the brick wall just rebuild the wall

          • Jerry

            Because birds nest in hedges and trees that grow with their branches close together. A sycamore is very open so not much for a bird to attach its nest to.

            Large birds like ravens and crows might nest at the very top but not much else will.

        • You really need to check. A variety of birds do indeed nest in sycamores, especially when there are precious few trees left thanks to Thanet’s bizarre policies over the years. As I stated earlier trees are much more than just bird nesting places though. Also … I work in building restoration and design, there are many options that would incorporate and reserve the wall.

  19. It is good that Sanctuary housing have put the tree removal on hold .It seems from the article that a number of parties state the tree is causing damage to a a listed wall in a conservation area, however from the photograph included in this article the wall appears stable and free from damage. This should be further investigated

    Regardless of the above facts if no notice was served and posted then the tree works can not go ahead , due process should be followed .
    More importantly questions should continue to be raised by the local councillors(s) of TDC why due process was not followed yet again !
    The next time I am in the area I will undertake a visual inspection and provide information to the paper.
    In any event if this tree is deemed necessary to be removed Sanctuary housing should replace this tree With a suitable slow growing less problematic replacement.It is too easy to cut cut down a tree without regard to the environmental consequences .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.