Landowner who chopped down woodland trees in Broadstairs loses appeal against replanting order

Park Avenue woodland before and after the felling

The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed an appeal against a Tree Replacement Notice served by Thanet District Council in December 2020.

The order followed the removal of at least 40 trees from an area of woodland in Park Avenue, Broadstairs by Parkstairs Ltd.

Following complaints from residents and the Park Avenue Woodland Group, council officers carried out an investigation in March 2020, and found that two tree preservation orders were in place and that 11 of the felled trees were protected. It is a criminal offence to undertake unauthorised works to a protected tree.

Photo TDC

Under Section 206 of the Town and Country Planning Act, if a protected tree is felled, the landowner has a duty to plant another tree of appropriate size and species. A Tree Replacement Notice was served on site owners Parkstairs Ltd, as negotiations to secure the replacement trees voluntarily failed.

Members of the Park Avenue Woodland Group campaigned for enforcement against Parkstairs and delivered a petition to Thanet council requesting the trees be replanted prior to the order being issued.

Photo Carl Hudson

A spokesperson for PAWG said: “We are pleased with the outcome of our campaign and thank all our supporters.  Thanet council showed it was willing to listen to us and we are grateful for this stance to protect trees. The trees are to be planted within 8 months and we will wait and watch.

“The area is now designated as Green Open space in the Town Council’s Draft Neighbourhood Plan and our campaign continues for it to remain as such.”

Broadstairs councillor Mike Garner added: “I’d like to congratulate all the local residents who formed the Park Avenue Woodland Group and fought to make sure enforcement action was taken against Parkstairs Ltd.

Photo TDC

“At times it’s felt like an uphill struggle but at last some sort of justice has been achieved. This area of woodland, along with others across Thanet, needs to be protected and I hope that we will now be able to designate it as an Open Space in TDC’s Local Plan, as was unanimously agreed by full council in 2021.”

Viking Bay ward councillor Ruth Bailey said: “I was very pleased to hear that the appeal decision regarding the replanting of the Park Avenue trees upheld TDC’s enforcement order to replant the felled trees.

“The eleven trees to be replanted have been specified in terms of species and size and will need to be replanted in designated plots within 8 months of the notice. This has been a dignified campaign and all credit must go to David Tate, his small team of dedicated residents, the volunteer tree warden Karen MacKenzie and others who have fought this issue determinedly.

“It has been a pleasure to be able to support the group through to this well deserved result. We will now need to maintain a watching brief to make sure that the trees are not only replanted but are protected going forward.”

Following the Planning Inspectorate’s decision to dismiss Parkstairs’ appeal, which was published this month, they are now required to plant 11 replacement trees on the site. The replanting must be carried out within the 2022/23 tree planting season.

Photo TDC

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, there is a duty requiring landowners to replace a tree removed, uprooted or destroyed in contravention of an Order. Anyone found guilty in the Magistrates’ Court of an offence under section 210(4) is liable to a fine of up to £2,500.

21 Comments

  1. Brilliant result! Bravo to all involved. I hope the people who cut them down are both gutted and out of pocket as its what they deserve.

  2. The right result well done to all of those who have been involved in the process of getting justice done itshould never have had to come to this if the land owner had not been an idiot and cut them down.

  3. Glad to see that justice us served these trees should never have been felled. On a lighter note , I’m not so sure that the acronym for the action group (namely “PAWG”) was particularly well thought through ! (For those unsure , you can google it)

  4. I love reading some of these comments and also love the fact some people do care about our precious environment around our tiny island. It’s a shame that most of the of last and small amounts of any kind of woodland, wild grassland, fields or tiny bit of foliage on any verge seems to go away to make space for a coffee shop or a fast food chain and that all we have left remaining seems to be being sold off or bought up by imbeciles who just want to make money out of building houses and the aforementioned. I have lived in thanet all my days and I remember my Grandad who was an architect saying back in the early 80,s all of this will someday be built on and it will be a complete mess. He is and was correct. The main place he specified was around westwood. It has taken around 40 years of patience by prospectors to make the claim and take all of the land and after a lot patience this has come to those in time. It has not come easy to them as some may know. Now it’s a real fing problem that’s not going away.

  5. The penalty in court is up to £20,000 for damaging a protected tree. The £2,500 is for a much lesser crime. Here we have a whole bunch of protected trees felled and the case should have been taken through the Crown Court who can give an unlimited fine on those responsible.

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