Application Details

Reference 20/05068/VP
Address Stoke Lodge Sports Ground Shirehampton Road Sea Mills Bristol  
Street View
Proposal Beech (B) - Light crown-lift and reduction (2m maximum) of the NE lower face of crown (lower 4m North East quadrant of crown and no higher).
Validated 23-10-20
Type Tree Preservation Order
Status Decided
Neighbour Consultation Expiry 13-11-20
Determination Deadline 18-12-20
Decision GRANTED subject to condition(s)
Decision Issued 11-01-21
BCC Planning Portal BCC Planning Portal
Public Comments Supporters: 0 Objectors: 13    Total: 13
No. of Page Views 0
Comment analysis   Date of Submission
Nearby Trees Within 200m

BTF response: OBJECT

Recommendation submitted 08-11-20

Whilst there is a common law right to remove the branches of a neighbouring tree if they are causing a nuisance, this does not apply to Tree Preservation Order (TPO) trees which are protected by statute. The circumstances in which a TPO tree may be pruned or otherwise ‘managed’ are very limited.

Under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (the TCPA 1990) and the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 (the 2012 Regulations), the cutting down, topping, lopping or uprooting of a tree may not be undertaken without the consent of the Local Planning Authority unless one of the conditions set out in regulation 14 is met.

One exception under regulation 14 permits work to be undertaken ‘as may be necessary for the prevention or abatement of a nuisance’. The Court of Appeal in Perrin v Northampton BC (Perrin and Another v Northampton Borough Council [2007] EWCA C iv 1353) confirmed that:

In order to trigger the exemption under section 198(6)(b) [of TCPA 1990], the nuisance in question must be actionable in law. There must be actual or imminent damage, not just the "pure encroachment" of roots or branches into or over the adjoining land.

The Applicant’s notice states ‘Beech (B) - Client feels the crowns of both trees are excessively over hanging their property, particularly the lower portions of crown. I have recommended a light crown-lift and reduction (2m maximum) of the NE lower face of crown (lower 4m North East quadrant of crown and no higher). This tree should have been included in the previous application but was missed. Works from the previous approved application have already been carried out with consideration and care to maintain the natural form of the trees. We will continue that care through to works on the Beech’.

As this description does not demonstrate that there is any ‘actual or imminent damage’, it may not be granted.

That is the end of the matter, but we also remind the Council that its tree management policy states 'We do not prune or remove a council owned tree to stop the nuisance of overhanging branches'; if the Council chooses to permit any pruning of a TPO tree under regulation 13 of the 2012 Regulations by any other parties, this should be solely for the basis of securing the health and welfare of the tree and not for any other reason.

Pruning a tree risks its future health. Particularly one that is as splendid and important enough to warrant a TPO as this Beech is. No tree’s life should be risked by unnecessary pruning. The Arboricultural Association has an interesting lecture on this very subject – Applied Tree Biology Lecture 3 Leaves and Crowns by Dr Andrew Hirons (https://www.trees.org.uk/Training-Events/Online-Learning/Applied-Tree-Biology).

Trees are given their TPO status because of their amenity value to the wider public. They should not be at risk of losing their status merely because their presence is inconvenient to one individual who, in buying their property, should have known of the special status of the trees on their boundary and of the particular ‘limitations’ this might impose on their ‘enjoyment’ of their property.

We note that a previous proposal to prune this and other nearby TPO trees to prevent damage to the garden and areas around the swimming pool (18/06369/VP) was rejected by the Council on the basis there was no actionable Nuisance. More recently, a reduced pruning of two of the trees was permitted because what was proposed was a ‘very light pruning unlikely to impact the amenity value or health of these trees…’ (20/02228/VP).

We believe that the Council should be wary of this history of successive, piecemeal applications and should consider treating this application as part of a wider project by the applicant to remove these neighbouring trees from their boundary – witness that this application refers to ‘both trees are excessively over hanging their property, not just the one Beech that it relates to. This suggests that other, separate applications for works on other trees will soon follow.

Bristol Tree Forum

08 November 2020.

Public Comments

  OBJECT

2

on their boundary and of the particular ‘limitations’ this might impose on their ‘enjoyment’ of their property.

We note that a previous proposal to prune this and other nearby TPO trees to prevent damage to the garden and areas around the swimming pool (18/06369/VP) was rejected by the Council on the basis there was no actionable Nuisance. More recently, a reduced pruning of two of the trees was permitted because what was proposed was a ‘very light pruning unlikely to impact the amenity value or health of these trees…’ (20/02228/VP).

We believe that the Council should be wary of this history of successive, piecemeal applications and should consider treating this application as part of a wider project by the applicant to remove these neighbouring trees from their boundary – witness that this application refers to ‘both trees are excessively over hanging their property, not just the one Beech that it relates to. This suggests that other, separate applications for works on other trees will soon follow.

Bristol Tree Forum

08 November 2020.

on 2020-11-19   OBJECT

Objection to Planning application 20/05068/VP

This mature tree is admired and observed all year round by hundreds of visitors to the grounds ofStoke Lodge each week. The Beech is one of many trees planted by the successive owners ofStoke Lodge estate in the mid nineteenth century. The trees as a whole form a landscapedisplaying shape and form not to mention changing leaf colours through the seasons. Thisprovides the perfect backdrop to a healthy walk during the current lockdown providing mental relieffrom the stress of daily news.

I request that the Council refuse this planning application and any future ones that form a part of adeplorable plan to circumvent the refusal in 2018 of application 18/06369/VP relating to a wholerow of trees adjacent to the garden fence of 10 Stoke Paddock Road. The Council has alreadyinadvisably granted permission in 2020 for the pruning of two of this group of trees under20/022268/VP and now faces a second application relating to the same group of trees all subjectto Tree Preservation Orders (TPO).

I would refer the planning officer to the Bristol Tree Forum objection that I fully support and do notpropose to repeat here. However the use of the phrase "BOTH trees are excessively overhanging"in this current application for the pruning of ONE tree surely highlights the intention of the ownersof this property and suggests further applications are in the pipeline.

The tree has been in place for near 100 years; the present owners could presumably see the treewhen considering purchasing the property and would have been aware of the TPO status of thebeech tree and the others in the row. Ownership of a property on the boundary of a listed house

and estate enjoying the benefit of that location also confers the acceptance of responsibility uponthe owners to conserve and protect the natural landscape for the enjoyment of future residents notto mention the community using the estate.

I notice the mention of the north east aspect of the tree. I believe the north east aspect wouldrelate to the side of the tree facing Stoke Lodge. This side of the tree would thus not beoverhanging the garden of 10 Stoke Paddock Road. Therefore I additionally object to theapplication for the pruning of this side of the tree.

In conclusion I urge the Council to stand firm and refuse this latest in what appears to besuccessive piecemeal applications to circumvent a planning application that was refused in 2018.

on 2020-11-17   OBJECT

Having read through the objections as set out by the Bristol Tree Forum, I urge theCouncil to give serious consideration to their comments. In particular, I note the final paragraph oftheir submission, which points out that there is a history of this applicant making successive,piecemeal applications "and the Council should consider treating this application as part of a widerproject to remove these neighbouring trees from their boundary".

I therefore very much object to further lopping or cutting back of this Beech tree on Stoke LodgeParkland, and which borders the garden of 10 Stoke Paddock Road.

on 2020-11-16   OBJECT

I strongly object to this application. The beech tree in question belongs to BCC onbehalf of the public, who have the right to enjoy its unspoilt appearance when they visit StokeLodge. This is precisely why BCC's tree officers decided to protect it with a TPO, and thereforeany work done on it should comply with TPO conditions and BCC's own policy relating tomaintaining its protected trees. The work proposed will not benefit the tree in any way and beechtrees apparently are not good at tolerating the stress of pruning. The application formacknowledges that this beech is not causing or threatening any damage to Mrs Avery's property,and no good reason is given for the application. There is no justification for this wilful interferenceand mutilation of a publicly owned, beautiful, valuable, mature beech tree that contributessubstantially to the overall amenity of its location.

I cannot understand why qualified, knowledgeable tree experts would compromise their ownprofessional integrity by caving in to the whim of an applicant who merely 'feels the crowns of bothtrees are excessively over hanging their property, particularly the lower portions of crown.' Thisconstitutes a superficial, passing inconvenience to a swimming pool owner who should haveforeseen this eventuality. It is not the responsibility of the local council to sort out her problem bybreaching its own tree management policy.

It should be obvious to anyone that the benefit to the community of protected trees growingnaturally on publicly accessible land takes priority over the day to day convenience or preferenceof one neighbour. The tree is causing no damage or actionable nuisance, as is acknowledged onthe application form. There is thus no sufficient reason for the substantial damage proposed on ahealthy, irreplaceable tree. BCC's tree management policy does not mandate such work on aprotected tree on such flimsy grounds. Nor should it.

I have read, understood and concur with the detailed explanation submitted by Bristol Tree Forumfor their objection. I also strongly support the comments of Tree Champion Stephanie French, whorightly points out that the extent of the work proposed is far beyond any light pruning intended todeal with overhanging branches, even if overhanging were in fact a justification for pruning aprotected BCC tree. However, BCC's current Tree Management policy specifically states thatoverhanging branches are not any justification for such pruning except in the case of public safetyconcerns, or if they are required for the benefit of the tree.

There are no supporting comments for this application, and there is no legitimate reason given forallowing the proposed work on this tree. In fact, crown lifting is advised against because it is likelyto stress the tree as well as being aesthetically detrimental.There is also the very obvious danger that approving this application will pave the way for furtherunjustified tree work by this applicant, or by others who could refer to the approval of thisapplication to support their own proposals. Approving this application would endanger not just thistree but others as well.I ask you to take all this into account and to refuse this application for the sake of the longtermhealth, viability and amenity value of this and numerous other protected trees on the edges ofStoke Lodge, and of other protected Bristol trees in similar situations.

on 2020-11-15   OBJECT

I know this is my second comment. I apologise for not having managed to combinethoughts in one comment, but sometimes after the blood has boiled it continues to simmer.

This Beech tree is a truly magnificent specimen. On the Field side its branches sweep down toground level. On the fence side (Stoke Paddock Road) some branches do go over the fence butnot at a low level. Those that do go over the fence then do not sweep down to ground level. Onepossibility is that this tree may already have had a few previous trims over the years, or maybe itsnatural growth has been inhibited by the fence? In any event there is a distinct difference betweenthe two sides of the tree - Western (towards Stoke Paddock Road) and Eastern (towards theField). Without actually going into the back garden of No 10 it is impossible to judge the size andshape of the lower western crown, but standing next to the trunk of the tree and looking at thecanopy/crown between the fence of No 10 and the trunk of the Beech one is not aware of muchtree canopy at a level above ones' head and going over the fence. Standing by the trunk of thetree between the trunk and the Field one is immersed in a huge bell-tent of foliage/canopy/crownreaching right down to the ground. The branches complained of "over the fence" cannot be anactionable nuisance with an immediate risk of causing damage.Surely it is the Western face of the crown that faces the garden of No 10. Not the Eastern or Northeastern face of the crown? Maybe it is a bit like naming wind direction - is it "from" or "to"?I have to assume that the application is to cut back the crown that faces No 10 Stoke PaddockRoad.Any (more) work to this tree would ruin its form and surely is not supported by the Law, orjustifiable in law?

on 2020-11-15   OBJECT

This application is a further attempt by this applicant to interfere with TPO trees of whichthey were fully aware when they bought their house a few years ago.

There is no danger nor nuisance involved. Gratuitous pruning for the selfish benefit of onehouseholder should not be permitted, especially on TPO tree which the Council has a legal duty toprotect.

Beech trees are particularly at risk from consequences (including long term) from pruning,according to experts.

I oppose this application. I urge the Council's tree officer to inform the applicant once and for allthat their continuing attempts with serial applications to damage TPO trees are to be seen as anuisance, wasting everyone's time.

on 2020-11-12   OBJECT

It's attrition by small steps - two trees here, one there - one can only deduce that theowners at this address have decided to divide up their various applications until they get the wholerow lopped as they wanted in the first place in 2018! It is so transparent a ploy. I would like to thinkthat the planning committee have already realised this.2018 - permission refused to massively prune whole row of trees that were affecting theirswimming pool. (18/06369/VP)2020 - permission granted to lop two of the same trees - swimming pool not mentioned this time(20/022268/VP). It is mystifying in the extreme to see that a refusal was changed to a permission.2020 - new application to lop another tree in the same row (20/05068)All of the row of trees there have TPOs and are all mature and well shaped. The TPOs that theywere granted were intended to make sure they were looked after and not have healthy parts cut.In addition, the Council policy is not to recognise overhanging as a reason. I live the other side ofthe Stoke Lodge Parkland and I can see these mature trees and would want the TPOs that theywere worth of to be honoured.I urge the planning committee to look at this application in the round as there are several trees inthe row, rooted in Stoke Lodge, and gradually cutting them one after the other is just not justifiable.

on 2020-11-12   OBJECT

Surely any tree that is considered worthy of TPO status, as in this case, must beoutstanding; therefore as guardians, BCC must safeguard from any unwarranted tree surgery.This majestic tree was planted long before 10 Stoke Paddock was built on land that was formerlypart of Stoke Lodge and thankfully, previous owners have respected the special status of this andother trees that border the property.However, new owners appear to have taken exception to the natural habit of trees that marginallyoverhang the fringes of expansive rolling lawns, despite growing on neighbouring land someconsiderable distance from the house. There is no threat to the property from roots so the onlyconclusion is that perhaps this is more about the south facing aspect of the garden and tiresometree shadows that traverse their garden daily.How unfortunate to imply these trees cause a nuisance when they actually protect neighbouringproperty from seasonal flooding, by absorbing excess water from the natural "floodplain" beyond;equally, all the parkland trees have taken hundreds of years to mature and grow within Councilowned land, so strict TPO rules should apply.How can we allow ignorance to undermine this delicate balance and possibly contribute to anotheruntimely demise; please, refuse this wholly unnecessary tree works.

on 2020-11-10   OBJECT

I strongly object to any lopping/cutting back to this Beech tree which is on Stoke LodgeParkland and borders the garden of No 10 Stoke Paddock Road, once again they feel it necessaryto require yet another tree this time G1 of TPO 1192 to be cut back. They have already removed avery old tree completely from the front of their property. If you buy a property surrounded bymature trees one should expect to have leaves fall on your property. If this further chopping backof a TPO tree is really necessary they should have applied for permission at the same time as theydid for the Norway Maple, also the subject of a TPO. Pruning trees could affect the health and lifeof a tree and whilst overhanging branches can be a nuisance this does not appear to be thesituation here.We are supposed to be promoting "green lungs" to improve the air quality with in our City which isparticularly badPlease do not allow massive pruning of this tree for spurious reasons.

on 2020-11-09   OBJECT

It is always a great shame to prune a tree. No tree's life should be risked by pruning -even ones that seem fairly insignificant. We need every tree we have got. Pruning a tree risks itsfuture health.There is a Common Law right to remove branches of a tree that you do not own but whichoverhang the boundary of your property. But this does not apply straightforwardly if the tree has aTPO, as is the case with this one, or is in a Conservation Area. In that situation there has to be anapplication for permission to do that work to the Local Planning Authority. I assume it is thatrequirement that has prompted this Application.But the LPA is bound to obey the TPO regulations and it is my understanding, from having readthe Town and Country Planning Act and explanatory notes, that, in the case of a TPO tree, theNuisance has to be 'actionable'; in other words where the overhanging branches are causing, orthere is an immediate risk of their causing, actual foreseeable damage. This is a very high hurdleto achieve, but rightly so. Trees that achieve TPO status do so for a reason, and it is not right foranyone to try to work around the regulations. This "actionable nuisance" does not appear to be thesituation here. It has not been stated to be so - just a mention of overhanging branches. Thepermissions for pruning a TPO tree are very limited. There was no evidence of damage in 2018.Damage is not claimed this time. It is too easy to use words like "light" to excuse work outside theregulations. Wrong is wrong.

"Beech (B) - Client feels the crowns of both trees are excessively over hanging their property,particularly the lower portions of crown. I have recommended a light crown-lift and reduction (2mmaximum) of the NE lower face of crown (lower 4m North East quadrant of crown and no higher).This tree should have been included in the previous application but was missed. Works from theprevious approved application have already been carried out with consideration and care to

maintain the natural form of the trees. We will continue that care through to works on the Beech"

There is a plural "trees" here. The actual Application is to crown lift just one tree this time - theBeech in G1 of TPO 1192. The other tree (s) referred to in this Application is/are an error I hope,and are the Norway Maples which were the subject of an earlier Application (20/02228). If not, andApplication(s) for work on a further tree(s) in the group follow later, then this would be verydisturbing.It would be quite wrong to see a Crown Reduction at all in this case as requested. Tree crownreduction is the process of removing branch tips, pruning back to a growth point further down thebranch. This may be carried out to remove dead, diseased and damaged branches, or simply toreduce the overall size of the tree. The main reason for performing a crown reduction is thus forlight.A request for a reduction here is far in excess of carrying out any work for any Nuisance ofoverhanging branches, even IF a Nuisance from the overhanging branches was considered to be'actionable' with an immediate risk of the branches causing actual, or foreseeable damage.Reducing the canopy size stresses the tree because of the cuts required, and I have read that forthis reason it is best not to perform crown reduction if at all possible. I say again - this tree has aTPO.

I think the Applicant wants the whole size of this tree canopy reduced. The tree is not their treeand is not on their land. IF there is an actionable Nuisance from any overhanging branchescausing immediate or foreseeable damage, then carrying out a reduction as well is going much toofar to mitigate for that.There is an interesting contrast here with Application 20/03288. I mention it here because that wasalso about a TPO tree in the same Parkland, and a comparison between the two is bound to bedrawn by local residents, and others, and questions raised.

In that matter:"20/03288/VP | Ash (T8 on plan, part of G7 on TPO 1192) Crown lift to 8m on the Pavilion side.Remove the basal shoot and any hanging branches or deadwood in the crown. Remove the threelowest limbs that overhang the footpath outside of the playing fields. | Stoke Lodge Sports GroundShirehampton Road Sea Mills Bristol"the application was to remove branches that overhung a garden that was not the property of theApplicant. Indeed the residents who did own the affected garden objected to the removal of thebranches and stated that the branches were not causing a Nuisance to them in the terms set outin the TPO regulations of the Town and Country Planning Act. It is strange that someone otherthan the householder was even permitted to apply for that work. In TPO regulation a landowner orleaseholder cannot claim that the trees in his/her own property, or the property they lease, are thecause of a nuisance to themselves.The work applied for in that case was also much more extensive, as there was also an applicationto remove a branch that was allegedly causing an immediate Nuisance with the risk of thebranches causing actual, foreseeable damage (rubbing against a structure), which I understand is

work permitted under the Act, but the application included work to remove several other branchesthat might come to cause a Nuisance in say 5-10 years' time - this is an extension of work which isnot permitted under the Act. It was the illegality of that work that caused so many objections, and itremains in the Community a cause of concern for the tree, and will do so for many years.Permission was granted but I think it was contrary to the Act.This Application is very different from 20/03288/VP, but concerning nevertheless.Please do not permit pruning of any nature to this TPO tree, however "light".

on 2020-11-09   OBJECT

My objection to this proposal is twofold: (a) beach trees do not take kindly to pruning so that any minor case may well have larger effects; and, (b) this is an unfortunate suggestion at a time when there remains controversy between Cotham School and local interests about the status of the field, i.e. any granting of a change in these valuable trees in the field could well encouyrage other more ambitious threats.

on 2020-11-09   OBJECT

According to the Arboricultural Association in their guide to pruning, beech trees farepoorly to pruning. Is such action,to the extent described in the application, to a mature tree with aTPO in parkland really a necessity? If this tree is significantly reduced along with others in thevicinity for which further reduction work is desired (or indeed has already been carried out) thenthe habitat loss potentially begins to be significant for the wildlife and biodiversity Eg the batcolony. It also affects the visual amenity value which makes Stoke Lodge such a special feature ofBS9.

on 2020-11-08   OBJECT

The proposed "lifting" of this tree would ruin the shape. It is an iconic tree which, beingin Stoke Lodge, has a TPO on it, and should not be touched, or lightly pruned on an even basis.This tree is not reducing light to the property and should therefore not need such a drastic prune.