Application Details

Reference 21/01509/VP
Address Stoke Lodge Shirehampton Road Sea Mills Bristol BS9 1BN  
Street View
Proposal T8 Ash - Sympathetic Excavation of the trench and removal of stumps supervised by an Arboricultural Consultant. Installation of path for disabled access. All works including potential root pruning in line with BS 5837:2012 Trees in relation to design, demolition and construction -Recommendations and Industry best practice. The application addresses the worst case scenario as the client is exploring the possibilities of repair work requiring only minor excavations.
Validated 17-03-21
Type Tree Preservation Order
Status Decided
Determination Deadline 12-05-21
Decision GRANTED subject to condition(s)
Decision Issued 28-04-21
BCC Planning Portal BCC Planning Portal
Public Comments Supporters: 0 Objectors: 27  Unstated: 2  Total: 29
No. of Page Views 0
Comment analysis   Date of Submission
Nearby Trees Within 200m

BTF response: OBJECT

We have submitted this response - https://bristoltreeforum.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/btf-21_01509_vp-submission.pdf

Public Comments

on 2021-04-21   OBJECT

I support the need for working sewers- it's been years coming and this applicationshould have happened ages ago, not in the incremental way the school approaches works atStoke Lodge.

However an application for a path is something they and BCC's Cabinet said wasn't need in nowin the shadows of a tree application is not how planning applications work or should be passed.

Are the council are yet again being played by a school who has no respect for process, theirlandlord nor the communities in which they operate?

on 2021-04-16   OBJECT

This application is not properly made. It lacks the detailed information needed to make acorrect decision and provides no solid evidence to back up either of its proposals.

With regard to the excavation within the root zone of the protected ash tree T8, officers needevidence that the work is unavoidable before they permit it. Since the application states thatinvestigations into the condition of the sewage pipe are ongoing, it is clear that evidence is not yetavailable and a decision should not be made until it is. The school's disregard for the health of thisTPOd ash tree has already compromised it and further damage needs to be avoided and thetree's survival prioritised.

What possible justification can there be for adding the separate proposal for the path to theapplication for tree works? The path application is problematic in several respects.It gives no information on exactly where the school tends to locate it, no details on the ramprequired given the level of the pavilion, no detail on how the perimeter pathway and this new pathwill safely cross and where. Without technical specifications and precise measurements noinformed deliberations or decision will be possible, and the type of 'no dig' path glibly proposedmay not anyway be possible here, as the Bristol Tree Forum points out.

The projected path would involve the change of use of playing field land, which requires priorexplicit permission. Nor is it likely to qualify as permitted development.

The school's application says the widening of the opening in the wall and installation of the pathare to provide improved disabled access. However, given their ignoring of the needs of peoplewith mobility and other access problems using the perimeter path, that is unlikely. The school istrying to get what has been refused by planning and Traffic Management officers : a mainentrance and exit point for the field from West Dene. The road safety and traffic impacts of thecreation of a main entrance would be very severe.

I ask you reject both these applications until they are resubmitted separately so that they can becomprehensively examined.

on 2021-04-16   OBJECT

I agree with the many comments on this application: that it is unacceptable to conflateplanning permission for a path in with tree works so on that basis alone this application should berefused and proper process adhered to.

Regarding the tree works.It seems very strange that after the pavilion has been rebuilt (you can't possibly consider what hasbeen done refurbishment!) they now come up with the fact that there are problems with the drains.This problem was flagged up by surveyors long ago and I can only liken it to spending lots ofenergy, and money, on having the bodywork of a car repaired and resprayed and then thinking tocheck if the engine works.

When you look at Cotham Academy's history of treatment of trees on Stoke Lodge I am sure thatyou will understand local residents for doubting the term 'sympathetic excavation'. The tree inquestion has been attacked (no other word for it) a number of times already by CA and not muchsympathy or Aboricultural oversight was included .Has the possibility of repair work been explored and what level of excavation is actually required?There is a lack of clarity in this application and for this reason, in it's current form I would have toobject. I would like to know exactly what they planned to do and explanation, from 3rd partysurveyors, of why it is necessary,

Now we come to the application for an 'accessible path' and widening of entrance. Surely this

does not fall within permitted development and requires a separate planning application and clarityabout what exactly is proposed.As a disabled local resident I am all for any building being made fully accessible and support allchildren to be able to do sports. I use a large 28" wide mobility scooter and I could get through thegap at West Dene without any problem so I can not see how knocking down part of a wall wasnecessary.Since Cotham Academy erected their fence I have been unable to access the main field (excepton the odd occasion when I had someone with me) as gates and mobility scooters don't gotogether. I fully support any premises being made fully accessible but once again, forgive me fordoubting, CA using this reason for requiring this work.Local residents have great concerns that this work is actually in order to make the West Deneentrance the main entrance for users. As I am sure that you are well aware planning permissionfor the rebuild of the pavilion was refused 3 times mainly because of lack of vehicular access andCotham Academy's refusal to make a traffic plan. The problem with the narrow surrounding streetshasn't magically changed. There is no way a coach could access West Dene, or South Dene andeven just having Cotham Tigers teams using the field on a Saturday morning makes it a misery forlocal residents with inconsiderate parking.

There are numerous other concerns that I have that don't really fall under this particularapplication but I do need to express concerns about access/egress in a, wooden, building thatsince its 'refurbishment' can now take 120 pupils and has only one door (I understand others thatwere there have been blocked off). So ramped access may get a person with a disability in but, ifthere are any problems, I have serious concerns about them getting out again safely!

on 2021-04-15   OBJECT

There appear to be 3 separate aspects to be considered within this very muddledplanning application made on behalf of Cotham School.

Firstly tree works to a TPO tree group; secondly the construction of a path and thirdly works to afoul sewer.

I object to the tree works being used as a cover for more major works.The officers should request two separate more detailed planning applications by Wilton, thecontractors, in respect of the foul sewer pipe and the path once a proper consideration & decisionson the works has been made. The report by the tree consultants should be an addition to each ofthose applications not the other way around.

I object to works being sanctioned under a TPO tree when the foul sewer pipe has not been fullyassessed and the full extent of works are still unknown.

The description within the documents is contradictory. At one point "'existing pipe work is nolonger functional" and "foul sewer serving the pavilion requires replacement to satisfy buildingregulations" while in another "the client is exploring the possibilities of repair work requiring onlyminor excavations". The application should be rejected and resubmitted when the client hasassessed and decided what works are necessary.

I object to works being sanctioned under a TPO tree group for the construction of the path theexact location of which is not specified in the application.

The path would involve the West Dene gateway then being used by the school as their mainentrance to Stoke Lodge. This defies the advice previously provided by Bristol City Council officersthat the local roads are unsafe for coach drop-offs and pick-ups and for heavy club use. This wasthe sole reason why officers and the Planning Inspectorate have on three occasions rejected theschool's applications to rebuild the changing rooms.

I further object to the construction of a path as it would cross land that is currently beingconsidered as both a proposed TVG and a proposed public footpath. These earlier matters shouldtake preference to avoid works beneath TPO trees that later needs to be reversed.

For all of the above reasons I urge the officers to reject this application and request thesubmission of separate detailed applications in respect of both the pipe and the path whenproposed actual works are known and a more reasoned assessment of the works can be madeand the implications for the TPO tree group more fully assessed.

on 2021-04-15   OBJECT

I strongly object to the proposed work on the path adjacent to the Pavilion at StokeLodge used by Cotham School.The path will need a new sewer pipe which it was known as far back as August last year was notfunctioning properly and certainly not for a capacity of 120 persons, there is a cross over on toTVG claimed land and also a proposed PROW application it should not be tagged on to thisapplication.The TPO Ash Tree has been abused on previous occasions, there is no sign of die back anyfurther assaults on its route system probably by the incorrect equipment yet again is totallyunacceptable.The so called refurbishment of this building has been a virtual reconstruction with new roof, newwall, and new windows, extra CCTV extra lighting indicating that use will not just be for the schoolduring the day and with a capacity to hold 120 persons. The two previous fire doors for around 60persons have been blocked up and there is now only one exit/access for twice as many persons.No external works were proposed and there has been extensive work to widen the gateway atWest Dene, which for its lifetime previously was perfectly accessible to both ordinary and electricwheelchair and buggy users. If the plan is for Cotham School to use this entrance for their pupils 3times this has been refused as it has been pointed out they need a proper traffic plan since thesurrounding access roads of South Dene and West dene are not suitable for coach traffic.I am in total agreement with other objectors that this work should be refused.

on 2021-04-15   OBJECT

We object to this application.

Any work to repair sewers should not be undertaken if they involve a risk of damage to the TPOtree T8 and its roots.

The planning committee should reflect on the fact that, when planning application 20/03288/VPwas considered in late summer 2020, the work of crown lifting the tree was already booked in andcommenced the morning after their meeting. How was this allowed to happen?Suggestions that the tree will "probably" suffer from Ash Die Back should be challenged. The treeis healthy at present, showing no sign of a disease that does not inevitably affect all Ash trees.This should not be used as an excuse for damaging the roots or felling the tree.

The entrance on Ebenezer Lane has been widened by knocking some of the existing wall down atthe site of the gate. I witnessed the stone being removed from the site on the back of a trucksuggesting that it will not be reconstructed.It is claimed this has been undertaken to provide wheelchair and emergency access. It seemsmore likely that Cotham school have undertaken this work to use the West Dene entrance as themain access to the site and pavilion. Whilst wheelchair access at this site would provide the bestoption for accessing the pavilion, it has never been a suitable emergency access site. Applicationsto use the West Dene site as the main access point for the pavilion and parkland have beenrejected three times on the basis that there is no safe transport plan and nothing has changed. As

there appears to be no evidence of a transport planany works to facilitate increased usage of the West Dene entrance should be rejected.

on 2021-04-14   OBJECT

These works will damage the environment wildlife and appearance of Stoke Lodge field.

Such works should not be allowed and should be rejected with a more eco friendly solution found.

They are a further example of the City enabling developers to run roughshod over local andcommunity interests.

on 2021-04-14   OBJECT

I strongly object to this application. I don't understand why it is being considered in itspresent form, which is in fact two applications cobbled together with each being as sloppily definedas the other. This means any planning officer's decision will have to be based on a 'best guess' asto what the school intends to do. As usual, with Cotham School's proposals for the land at StokeLodge, their intention is to force through works to further their predatory agenda of privatising andexploiting the site by hiring it out. Their lead on this project has long experience of planning issues,and has been able to guide the school through the loopholes in the legislation. Stretching thedefinition of permitted development, far beyond the conditions of its intended meaning, can beemployed in order to deprive local residents of their established access to their only accessiblegreen space, which research overwhelmingly shows to be fundamental to human health and well-being, as well as to environmental viability. We should be able to trust our planning officers toprotect our communities from such predatory misuse of planning regulations.

I welcome this application as being at least an opportunity, though belated, for planning officers toexamine the school's plans. My specific objections to these two distinct proposals, that I believehave been inappropriately made into a single application, are below.

1. "Sympathetic" 'Excavation works to replace the foul sewer serving the pavilion, existing pipework is no longer functional and does not meet current building regulations.'

a) The statement that the pipe work is non-functional and non-compliant with current building

regulations, and must be replaced, is not backed up with any evidence. The applicant has nowadmitted that the sympathetic excavation may not be needed after all. Which is it? The applicantshould withdraw the application and find out if replacing the pipe is essential or if it can be repairedinstead, since the TPO prohibits the work, which will compromise this tree, unless it isunavoidable. Considering the application at this stage is a waste of valuable resources.

b) I query the statement from Ross Consulting implying the inevitability of ash dieback in thisheretofore perfectly healthy tree. There is certainly a high risk of the disease to any ash tree, butthe timeframe is uncertain: older trees are often more resistant for longer; trees on open parklandhave a better chance of resisting; 1-5% of ash trees are expected to have inbuilt resistance; workon ash trees - such as Cotham's repeated, unauthorised incursions into this tree's root zone andthe recent savage, excessive pruning recently inflicted on numerous major limbs - is known tosignificantly increase susceptibility to disease, including ash dieback. Ross's statement isconjectural, not definitive.

2. 'Installation of no dig footpath using a cellular confinement solution based on ArboriculturalAssociation Guidance Note 12to the West of the pavilion. Exact posistion and spec to beconfirmed in order to Comply with building regs and disabled access requirements'.

As has been well explained by other commenters, constructing this proposed path would mean achange of use from playing field land to non-playing field land. The definition of 'playing field land'includes land right up to the margins of the site, and parts of the site accommodating social,informal and habitat areas, i.e. not just the playing fields themselves.However, paths do not fall within the definition of playing field land. DfE approval must be obtainedbefore any change of use, and they are not included in GPDO categories of permitteddevelopment.So a proper, individual planning application to build this path on playing field land is needed. Itshould not be tacked on to the end of an application for tree works which may themselves beshown to be unnecessary.

The path application is masquerading as a minor addition to the application for (possible)excavation, (possible) root pruning and (possible) installation of a new foul sewage pipe.But since this path involves change of use of playing field land and should therefore not properlybe permitted development, it is not a minor addition at all. (It seems very surprising that theschool's vastly experienced planner-governor lead on their Stoke Lodge project did not know this,having worked in planning for about forty years.)In fact, the wider entrance and the path have implications for the living conditions and well-being ofthousands of local residents.

The school has now managed to refurbish the pavilion that they were three times - twice by BCCand a third time by the Planning Inspector on appeal - refused permission to rebuild because ofhighway safety issues related to the use of this precise entrance onto the Stoke Lodge field. That

refurbishment has increased the capacity of the pavilion to 120 and the school's long-held aim isto hire out these facilities.BCC officers' repeated refusals of the school's applications to rebuild the pavilion hinge on theunsuitability of the small local roads for coach drop off and pick ups. South Dene and West Deneare completely inadequate for such traffic and are already used for overflow parking from theUniversity's Coombe Dingle complex. They quickly become impassable and inaccessible toemergency vehicles, as can be seen already at weekends when sports clubs use Stoke Lodge.Allowing the enlargement and changed use of this entrance further risks all the harms foreseen byTraffic Management ofiicers.

BCC officers' refusal of the school's expansion of the pavilion and the use of the West Deneaccess as the main entrance and exit to the field still stand, because the school has alwaysrefused to address the significant traffic issues with a traffic plan. Their remodelling of the interiorof the pavilion in order to greatly increase its capacity (though without suitable fire safety provision,I believe) will have even greater implications for road safety, congestion and obstruction thanwhen the three rejections were handed down.

I hope planning officers will reject this double application as it stands, and will require the school tosubmit a new, properly researched and evidenced application for the drain excavation, with treeworks if in fact necessary.

A new, comprehensively detailed and completely separate application is needed for the path,should the school have received the required approval for it. Crucial missing information as toexact location, levels, junction with and impact on the existing perimeter path should, of course, beprovided. That application will no doubt be considered with the full history of previous decisionsaround the transport and other implications of the use of the pavilion, which the school hasrepeatedly claimed will be for their own use and not hired out. That was the condition, as Iunderstand it, on which they procured the public funding to cover the refurbishment, and I hopeplanning officers will make sure it has to be observed.

on 2021-04-13   OBJECT

This application is not about tree works but the installation of a path without necessaryplanning permission.Notice School's application was once again submitted and approved the same day. Meanwhilecouncil officers continue to use delay tactics on anything submitted by residents in regards toStoke Lodge.The paying of the path casually mentioned needs Department for Education permission and thathas neither been sought nor granted.I urge you to reject this application for the incremental change that it is, a change that has alreadybeen twice rejected by the council and by the Planning Inspectorate.

on 2021-04-13   OBJECT

This application should be rejected as it is a disguised attempt to include an unrelatedproposal to install a footpath. As such, it should be submitted as a completely separate planningapplication (it also requires landlord consent).

There is insufficient information available within this application to help inform a decision aboutwhether this type of path is either required or feasible - the presence of underground servicesalone may make this type of path infeasible.

I am therefore asking for this planning application to be rejected on the above grounds.

on 2021-04-12   OBJECT

Starting with "Installation of path for disabled access" what does this have to do withtree works? This is a brazen attempt by Cotham School to use minor "Tree Works" to get the pathand access denied by both Bristol City Council and, at appeal, the Planning Inspectorate. Itbeggars belief that this application even passed initial scanning for approval and once again leadsone to believe that council officers are in cahoots with and favour at every step the school over theresidents and are not impartial as they should be.This application should be rejected outright, and, if the school want a path then they can put in theproper planning application.Considering changes have been made to the description of works that indicate that excavationdisturbing the tree roots may no longer be unnecessary then BCC officers failed to review andrealise that all the other proposed works are NOT permitted development. Why was this not pickedup by officers? Were they asked to "hide this in the long grass" as well as the TVG application? Itis disgusting behaviour by the school. Scope creep after scope creep as with the refurbishment ofthe changing rooms.

The proposed path has NOTHING to do with accessibility, you can tell this by the steepness of thecurrent changes that would require a rail, but is CLEARLY intended for use by the school and theirable bodies hirers as a main entrance point to Stoke Lodge. This completely goes against theadvice previously issued by BCC officers that the local roads are TOTALLY unsuitable andUNSAFE for coach drop-offs and pick-ups and for proposed heavy club use. Every rejection of theschool's planning applications has hinged on THIS access point. Are BCC officers really going to

wave this through under tree works? I demand this application be rejected outright. If a path istruly needed FOR ACCESSIBILITY then proper planning application can be submitted andrejected as before as nothing has changed in the road layout or the dangers of maneuveringcoaches in such tight roads.Proper planning application is required to build a path or hard standing on playing field land;period. See that you get it.Reject the application for what it is, an attempt by Cotham School led by an ex Bristol CityPlanning officer as head governor, no doubt using leverage of internal BCC workings, to getthrough that which has been denied them time and again via proper methods that they areattempting to use "tree works" to cover the real intent.This particular tree has suffered quite enough at the hands of Cotham School and has barely hadtime to recover. If minor works are possible then reject the application or dismiss it until theapplicant actually knows what the hell they need to do! But the point being that the tree is anincidental victim. The aim of this application is to get the path established.The council have allowed a massive increase to the capacity of this building by FAILING to checkon the progress. Far from being minor works Bristol council have permitted the destruction of thewall and who knows what else. That certain council officers are not impartial where school vsresidents is concerned is blatantly obvious. Reject the application outright!I reiterate other commenters "It is neither appropriate nor sufficient to deal with this as anapplication for tree works." I demand this application be rejected.Why is the precise location of the path not provided? Reject the application.Proper consultation via the full planning process is required. End of. I demand that you see toPROPER planning process be followed.The PROW passing here is not yet decided. I reiterate "It would be a breach of due process forofficers to allow the path application to be considered as a tree works application."REJECT THIS APPLICATION!As there is now no confirmation that works to replace the sewage pipe are actually a necessity asoriginally claimed and then changed, the application should be rejected outright.I am sick and tired of Bristol City Council officers bending the rules and turning a blind eye to everyinfringement of the Cotham School lease to the detriment of my community.REJECT THIS APPLICATION! SHOW YOU ARE GENUINELY IMPARTIAL! DEMAND PROPERPLANNING PROCESS FOR A PATH.

on 2021-04-12   OBJECT

This application if granted will be the fourth assault on this tree in less than 2 years: first,an unauthorised excavation in the roots for a CCTV cable, second, another trench for anothercable, third, a massive removal of main branches and now, fourth, an assault on the roots (again).This is more than can reasonably be expected to be withstood in so short a time. So the absoluteminimum of work should be carried out, and carefully done by hand digging and not by mechanicaldiggers. The description in the Excavation Method Statement indicates otherwise. A tree with aTPO should be protected from such behaviour. Please read the Government document on policythat should be adhered to.The remark by Ross Consulting that the tree will PROBABLY be suffering ash dieback isunacceptable as speculation on this matter is in the realms of guesswork. In particular, at the BCCplanning meeting for permission to lop off branches it was stated by the officer that the tree washealthy and NOT showing signs of ash dieback. There is no report in the present application withevidence of the disease by a qualified arboriculturist that there has been a change of state of thetree. In addition sudden appearance of ash dieback would need to show sickly leaves on someparts of the tree which cannot be seen in the winter months since the healthy diagnosis in July2020. From previous experience and observation of school contractors in Stoke Lodge I don'tbelieve that an arboriculturist will be present to supervise all works at all times. So the first word inthe application ('sympathetic') is something we just cannot rely on.The woolly description of the new sewer pipe (it apparently may not be needed and can berepaired, or on the other hand the statement says that the existing pipe does not fulfil buildingregulations) seems to indicate that no proper survey has been done - or that the title of works at

the head of the application has had a less damaging sentence put in to the proposal to try tomitigate severity. If the proposed work is still indefinite then we have no confidence that minimaldamage to the tree would be done, particularly after previous careless actions.Out of the £670K the school received for works then surely it could at the beginning have includeda new survey on those important drains and sewer and possibly re-route the whole lot so as toavoid compromising a magnificent tree. It was already known in 2019 that the sewer would needto be thoroughly considered so why should there be an application only now after 2 years? Thesevarious planning applications smack of using a creeping attrition - a well known ploy - smallapplications spaced out so that each seems fairly innocuous.-Re the PATH: The matter of the proposed path being slipped in at the end of the application isanother example of a creeping onslaught. It surely does not qualify to be classed as permitteddevelopment. Under it there will be a) services, b) a sewer, c) cabling and d) a nearby gas pipe. Itwill also cross over claimed TVG land and the start of a claimed public right of way both of whichhave not yet been resolved. We were informed by BCC only just over 12 months ago that therewere NO EXTERNAL WORKS PROPOSED and because the school was not proposing to makethe building less accessible, there was NO REQUIREMENT FOR EXTERNAL WORKS(accessible paths etc) and therefore no planning permission was required i.e. for the refurbishmentof the pavilion. It is obvious that this proposed path will be an obstacle on the path around thefield. There are no detailed measurements of its construction.So how has the present situation been allowed to come to pass?The answer is the creeping effect of multiple applications. From all our experience we have notrust in the school and whether it has any intention of adhering to any regulations or to what hasbeen given permission for. Just one example is permission for a new expanded pavilion wasrefused but the school has increased the capacity anyway and in effect is using a 'Ha Ha can'tcatch us approach'. To sum up:a) The West Dene gate has been wide enough for local wheelchair users already. So this cannotbe the excuse.b) The only imaginable reason must be that the school is intending to use a wider entrance as amain entrance despite having told the Dept for Education that there would be no drop-off pointthere for large numbers of pupils and no use by clubs. BCC also refused several applications for anew pavilion, mainly on traffic grounds. So, if the school is not intending to renege on theirprevious commitments then maybe they can provide a different excuse for the need for a newwider path.The matter of the footpath SHOULD NOT be considered joined on at the tail-end of the applicationabout cutting into the roots of a TPO tree for a sewer. The two issues are so different and theinformation given previously about the highway traffic issues must be honoured so that there is noquestion of West Dene being used as a main entrance.Therefore this application should be refused on the grounds that it is in effect two applications andmust be considered separately.

on 2021-04-12   OBJECT

The phrase "Installation of path for disabled access" rather disingenuously neglects tosay to WHAT ?

For what purpose is this access intended to be, and for whom ? Is it meant to be for the benefit ofmembers of the general public entering the public space of Stoke Lodge Field via the West Deneentrance gate, or is it supposed to provide disabled access to the old sports pavilion currentlyunder refurbishment for use by pupils and staff of Cotham School, the current non-exclusiveleaseholders ?

We as local residents could make certain guesses, but the entire point of making a planningapplication is that members of the public should not be put in the position of having to guess whatthe purpose of a proposed schedule of works is supposed to be, nor in whose interests the worksare being carried out. All of this information should be clearly and unambiguously stated in the textof this planning application itself. The failure to do so in my view provides compelling prima faciegrounds for throwing this application out at first reading.

The evasiveness of this application in relation to the pavilion at West Dene seems to reflect anawareness on the part of Cotham School that they have conducted an illegitimate andunsanctioned demolition and replacement of a delapidated building by a process that hadpreviously been categorically rejected by three previous planning application processes. Theyhave done so by a form of legerdemain which relied on claiming that they were only carrying out

'repairs' that didn't need planning oversight or approval.

There is good reason to believe that the proposed "Sympathetic Excavation" referred to in theapplication has been belatedly requested because the building contractors only recentlydiscovered that the foul water sewer line for the toilets inside the pavilion is currently in anunusable state (a fact first known to site surveyors last August).

The proposal for the "Installation of a path for disabled access" is likewise another belated attemptto comply with DDA (1995) requirements that should have been patently obvious to any competentapplicant many months ago. So why are they only now being addressed indirectly in a so-say"Tree Works" planning application ?

One final point in respect to the SLF Pavilion refurbishment itself. The planning committee wouldbe remiss in failing to note that the newly refurbished pavilion cannot possibly be used as intendedto the capacity of 120 pupils as stated on Cotham School's buildings plans, because the buildingwould be in in clear breach of Fire Safety Regulations as stated in the UK Government TSOdocument on Fire Safety Risk Assessment (2006) - p.85

That guidance document makes it very clear that a single storey building like this pavilion with onlya single entrance/exit doorway cannot possibly be allowed to hold more than 60 occupants at anyone time.

N.B. The pavilion previously had two additional BS 5499 compliant fire exit doors on the rear of thebuilding, but those have been quite deliberately removed - (they are marked "to be fixed shut" onthe plans)

It seems rather preverse to be considering a planning application to provide disabled access to anewly refurbished wooden building which is now a potential fire safety death-trap.

on 2021-04-12   OBJECT

This application should be refused due to the addition of a path being added. A pathneeds more consultation and it's own planning application due to the pressure it may put on WestDene.

West Dene should not be used as a formal access for Cotham School to enter Stoke LodgePlaying Field. This may result if a path is granted as part of this application.

More consultation about the consequences of this path need to be discussed in its ownapplication.

on 2021-04-09   OBJECT

I would ask that the Councillors take notice of the objection submitted by Bristol TreeForum as laid out in their full and explanatory objection to the proposed works, and in particulartheir comments regarding the footpath. My view of this application is entirely in line with theirstatement.

Cotham School has effectively rebuilt the pavilion without a planning application, such is theirsway with Bristol City Council. However, if this is an attempt to install a footpath it should require aseparate, full planning application, where all the issues can be discussed.

My concern is that this is really an attempt to use the West Dene road entrance as an access pointfor school coaches. The application to refurbish the pavilion was rejected three times becausethere was no traffic management plan, and this remains the case today. BCC officers have madeclear in the past that coaches should not use the West Dene/South Dene roads, and if this is anattempt by the school to defy officers' advice there will be very strong objects from local residents,including myself.

In conclusion, is this is really a proposal to install a footpath without planning permission? In myview, it is and should be rejected and a proper planning application requested from CothamSchool. This would then be the correct way to decide if a no-dig footpath is a right solution.

Please reject this application.

on 2021-04-06   OBJECT

On the face of it this seems a perfectly reasonable application (others have moreknowledge than me on possible damage to the tree) except for the inclusion of a path, of which noexact details are included but, presumably, it will be to the West Dene entrance. One can onlyassume that Cotham intend to use this path as access for users of the pavilion. You, the planningauthority have refused permission for the rebuilding of the pavilion due to safety/traffic issuesaround using the West Dene entrance. These issues have not gone away, and have never beenaddressed.This application should be refused.

on 2021-04-05   OBJECT

Having acquired considerable public funds for the refurbishment of this dilapidatedpavilion and following two failed planning applications to rebuild an erstwhile 'beyond repair'structure; it would not be unreasonable to expect professional surveys and thorough forward-planning to avoid any unforeseen expenditure.Nonetheless, several self-seeded trees that took advantage of cracked drains (blocking sewer)were known to the schools 'facilities manager' during construction of the disputed fencing(February 2019) and would later lead to the removal of a mature tree adjacent to the plinth andinspection cover; so any sewer issues should not have been a revelation in 2021.Correspondingly, why was the tower never properly surveyed, as water ingress would have beenevident during installation of CCTV cameras?As a prerequisite for modern building regulations, the proposed path is highly likely to affect TPO'dtree roots but can it be constructed over services such as sewer, cabling and gas pipes that areknown to criss-cross behind the pavilion? Equally woolly, the paths actual route from the gate inEbenezer Lane but just how many people are likely to access the field via this gateway, carryingheavy sports equipment in the future; given its remote location this will undoubtedly also be bycar?The major factor for two failed Planning Applications to build an even bigger pavilion here, waslack of a Transport Plan; nothing has changed so why is traffic management on West and SouthDene not a precondition for any future school use or subletting?These very narrow local roads currently serve as resident parking, along with official overflowparking for the adjacent BU Sports Centre; so if the path and entrance becomes a preferred route,

how will coaches offload (disabled) pupils safely with no immediate parking availability at this (noturn) cul-de-sac location?On top of all this, the reckless damage to the gateway - identified as "listed" by BCC (NP3) prior toprevious repairs nearby; the wall is not included in the 2011 Lease so requires "listed consent"before any changes.Without doubt, this path/entranceway for disabled access is really a separate consideration,should be treated as such and not waved through without proper consultation.

on 2021-04-04   OBJECT

Given the nature of the work - this should be a proper stand-alone application! Pleaseinsist that Cotham submit a full planning application.

on 2021-04-04   OBJECT

I don't feel that the tree works are 'essential' or unavoidable, as per the restrictionsimposed on TPO's.The planning application has an additional detail snuck in! A path - a separate application shouldbe required for this, also an access plan for the transport of the disabled persons t the entrance, ithas been widely noted that the residential road leading to this area is not suitable for acces to thepavilion.More information is needed in the planning of this path!

on 2021-03-30   OBJECT

This application if granted will be the fourth assault on this tree in less than 2 years: first,an unauthorised excavation in the roots for a CCTV cable, second, another trench for anothercable, third, a massive removal of main branches and now, fourth, an assault on the roots (again).This is more than can reasonably be expected to be withstood in so short a time. So the absoluteminimum of work should be carried out, and carefully done by hand digging and not by mechanicaldiggers. The description in the Excavation Method Statement indicates otherwise. A tree with aTPO should be protected from such behaviour. Please read the Government document on policythat should be adhered to.The remark by Ross Consulting that the tree will PROBABLY be suffering ash dieback isunacceptable as speculation on this matter is in the realms of guesswork. In particular, at the BCCplanning meeting for permission to lop off branches it was stated by the officer that the tree washealthy and NOT showing signs of ash dieback. There is no report in the present application withevidence of the disease by a qualified arboriculturist that there has been a change of state of thetree. In addition sudden appearance of ash dieback would need to show sickly leaves on someparts of the tree which cannot be seen in the winter months since the healthy diagnosis in July2020. From previous experience and observation of school contractors in Stoke Lodge I don'tbelieve that an arboriculturist will be present to supervise all works at all times. So the first word inthe application ('sympathetic') is something we just cannot rely on.The woolly description of the new sewer pipe (it apparently may not be needed and can berepaired, or on the other hand the statement says that the existing pipe does not fulfil buildingregulations) seems to indicate that no proper survey has been done - or that the title of works at

the head of the application has had a less damaging sentence put in to the proposal to try tomitigate severity. If the proposed work is still indefinite then we have no confidence that minimaldamage to the tree would be done, particularly after previous careless actions.Out of the £670K the school received for works then surely it could at the beginning have includeda new survey on those important drains and sewer and possibly re-route the whole lot so as toavoid compromising a magnificent tree. It was already known in 2019 that the sewer would needto be thoroughly considered so why should there be an application only now after 2 years? Thesevarious planning applications smack of using a creeping attrition - a well known ploy - smallapplications spaced out so that each seems fairly innocuous.-Re the PATH: The matter of the proposed path being slipped in at the end of the application isanother example of a creeping onslaught. It surely does not qualify to be classed as permitteddevelopment. Under it there will be a) services, b) a sewer, c) cabling and d) a nearby gas pipe. Itwill also cross over claimed TVG land and the start of a claimed public right of way both of whichhave not yet been resolved. We were informed by BCC only just over 12 months ago that therewere NO EXTERNAL WORKS PROPOSED and because the school was not proposing to makethe building less accessible, there was NO REQUIREMENT FOR EXTERNAL WORKS(accessible paths etc) and therefore no planning permission was required i.e. for the refurbishmentof the pavilion. It is obvious that this proposed path will be an obstacle on the path around thefield. There are no detailed measurements of its construction.So how has the present situation been allowed to come to pass?The answer is the creeping effect of multiple applications. From all our experience we have notrust in the school and whether it has any intention of adhering to any regulations or to what hasbeen given permission for. Just one example is permission for a new expanded pavilion wasrefused but the school has increased the capacity anyway and in effect is using a 'Ha Ha can'tcatch us approach'. To sum up:a) The West Dene gate has been wide enough for local wheelchair users already. So this cannotbe the excuse.b) The only imaginable reason must be that the school is intending to use a wider entrance as amain entrance despite having told the Dept for Education that there would be no drop-off pointthere for large numbers of pupils and no use by clubs. BCC also refused several applications for anew pavilion, mainly on traffic grounds. So, if the school is not intending to renege on theirprevious commitments then maybe they can provide a different excuse for the need for a newwider path.

The matter of the footpath SHOULD NOT be considered joined on at the tail-end of the applicationabout cutting into the roots of a TPO tree for a sewer. The two issues are so different and theinformation given previously about the highway traffic issues must be honoured so that there is noquestion of West Dene being used as a main entrance.Therefore this application should be refused on the grounds that it is in effect two applications andmust be considered separately.

on 2021-03-27   OBJECT

The Application itself states:

" 21/01509/VP | T8 Ash - Sympathetic Excavation of the trench and removal of stumps supervisedby an Arboricultural Consultant.Installation of path for disabled access.All works including potential root pruning in line with BS 5837:2012 Trees in relation to design,demolition and construction -Recommendations and Industry best practice.The application addresses the worst-case scenario as the client is exploring the possibilities ofrepair work requiring only minor excavations."Excavation Method Statement (EMS) under Reasoning, states:"The foul sewer serving the pavilion requires replacement to satisfy building regulations. Due tothe presence of trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order within the area of proposedexcavations BCC require an application for works to a TPO'd tree to be submitted. Permission isrequired under the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations 2012 tocarry out works to a protected tree, to do so without permission may result in enforcement action."It then goes on to describe extensive works with a trench 30 - 30 inches wide and with a depth of43 inches for a 65-foot-long trench.

So there is an incompatibility here between the description of work being applied for and the workthat is proposed and, if consent is given, will actually, be done. What is going on here?Obfuscation described as being the worst-case scenario?

If there has been a change during the evolution of this Application, as the change in descriptionon- line would suggest, then surely the more usual process is to withdraw an application andsubmit a fresh application, rather than leave it this vague, and any permission, if granted, so wideand all forgiving?

There is a further discrepancy between what is stated in the Application and what is written in theExcavation Method Statement (EMS).In the Application the work is to be "supervised by an Arboricultural Consultant".From the EMS I quote "In the case of any queries or anticipated deviations from this methodstatement the Project Arboriculturist must be contacted and will make the final decision informingthe BCC Tree Officer if deemed appropriate". This is the final paragraph of the EMS, which doesnot sit easily with the earlier assertions in the EMS which suggest that the Project Arboriculturist isomnipresent.This statement about supervision is too vague. Will he/she be there all the time, or not?We residents are experienced watchers, and we know that supervision by professionalarboriculturists of work done by contractors amongst these trees is not always a reality, even whenthe Arboricultural Method Statement says it will be.

I have to say that I am puzzled that these two things should be in the one Application. I can seethat the roots of a TPO tree are, or probably are, involved in both parts of the Application, but Icannot help but be suspicious that something is being hidden here for convenience andavoidance.

In this situation I am both a Bristol 9 tree commentator on the Bristol Tree Forum, and a localresident. Thus I shall comment on both aspects of this TPO Tree Planning Application.

The Tree: This poor tree. This will be the fourth insult of some size that will have threatened itsfuture existence. What has it done to deserve this? Its roots have been excavated twice contraryto UK law. (Permitted Development does not trounce TPO regulation - rather it is the other wayaround - a point repeatedly made by residents, and finally conceded by Bristol Council planners.)Any time you dig in the area around a tree, you risk damaging its roots. Unfortunately, this type ofdamage can occur while digging the shallowest trenches or holes, as the bulk of a tree's fineabsorbing roots (the ones that do most of the "heavy lifting" for a tree) are found within the upper12 to 18 inches of the soil.

On the first occasion this excavation was done by a mechanical digger, specifically excluded inregulations and guidelines (see below). There was no Planning Application to do this work. I sawthe digger, I saw the trench, I saw the bucket marks and I saw the severed roots.It is accepted that this is a) illegal and b) will damage a tree, probably leading to its early demise.This is a quote from the National Joint Utilities Group's Guidelines for the Planning, Installationand Maintenance of Utility Services in Proximity to Trees. The information is from theGovernment's "Tree Preservation Orders: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice" and that guide

sets out the Government's policy advice on the tree preservation order system. It outlines the lawas it currently stands in England, taking into account the Town and Country Planning (Trees)Regulations 1999 which came into force on 2 August 1999."When working on or near trees (above or below ground), the utility operator will follow theguidelines in the NJUG 10.In particular:- excavation with machinery in the precautionary area is totally unacceptable. Wherever possibletrenchless techniques should be used. Otherwise, trenches will be dug carefully by hand retainingas many roots as possible;- roots over 25mm in diameter will not be cut unless the tree officer agrees beforehand;- when backfilling trenches, an inert granular material mixed with top soil or sharp sand (NOTbuilders sand) will be placed around the retained roots and compacted carefully.On non-highway sites, only excavated soil will be used."

Some LPAs have enforced the law:"A Derby building firm has been fined £1,000 for damaging the roots of a tree in a SouthDerbyshire village. The Red Leafed Norway Maple Tree, which is protected by a TreePreservation Order (TPO), had its roots exposed and damaged by a small mechanical diggerbeing used to dig a trench to lay services for a new dwelling." (July 2018)

This insult to our Ash might have been partly ameliorated by the air spade digging of the roots, soilaeration and the application of mycorrhizal fungi that followed, as remedial efforts, which workstook place only under threat of prosecution of the Applicant, after Bristol Council Officers wereprovided with video evidence of the unlawful works and a complaint from residents.Even after that threat of prosecution the mitigation work was soon to be rendered ineffective whenthe second insult occurred - the trench was re-dug to bury a second cable. So the ameliorationwas all to no avail and the tree has suffered injury to its roots along the line of this trench twicenow. Again, there was no Planning Application to get permission for the second trenching incident.

I think any reasonable person could well understand the doubting opinion of local residents when itcomes to pledges of adherence to regulation and British Standards and the Law when they readArboricultural Method Statements and any Excavation Method Statement submitted by theApplicant. This is why I describe these incidents - to explain to the Tree Officer the degree ofscepticism felt by locals, who love all these trees, when it comes to the Applicant following anyadvice or even an instruction from the Council, their Leaseholder.

The third insult has been a heavy prune of the Crown of the tree (20/03288/VP). Part of onebranch of the tree (possibly) needed to be removed, as it was rubbing against the tower of thebuilding. Nevertheless consent was granted for more work than was required to remove that partof one branch. What we saw was major limb removal and crown reduction, which, when complete,and when works to the pavilion commenced, neatly accommodated the scaffolding around thetower. There were many wounds to the branches of the tree.

It is against the law to do more work to a TPO tree than is required for its own benefit. But consenthad been given despite that.

Were anyone to suggest that crown reduction might assist a tree which has had root damage on a"less tree to support physiologically" theory, I found this interesting comment published by theInternational Society of Arboriculture "Do not thin or reduce tree canopies to compensate for rootloss. There is no conclusive research to support this practice, and thinning the crown may stressthe tree further." Thinning a crown does stress a tree in very many ways which were fullydescribed by commentators in that Application 20/03288/VP.We should not forget the driving of fence posts through the roots of this tree when the fence waserected, and the pouring of concrete into those holes. That counts really as Insult No 1 and thiswork applied for within the roots, if carried out, would then become Insult No 5.I am also very concerned by Mr Ross' comments in his Excavation Method Statement. He statesthat the tree has, or will have, Ash Die Back leading to its demise. "Ash Die Back Disease - This isprevalent in the South West, there is a high probability T8 will have some degree of infection or willbecome infected, previous experience suggests that this will result in the decline of vitality or deathof the tree". I would suggest that the sequential physical insults to this tree will have made itsdemise with or without ADB more likely, and it is more likely that it will become infected withHymenoscyphus fraxineus due to the stresses and damage it has had to endure. If this tree dies -even if eventually due to Ash Die Back - we shall hold the above physical insults as being thereason for the fact it contracted the disease, and then succumbed to it.The only positive thing to say about this Application is that an Application has been made at all.If the work to the sewer has to be done then it is inevitable that the roots of the tree will be affectedand damaged. The methods outlined in the EMS seem to be skewed in favour of doing as littledamage to the tree as is possible, but the work I fear is going to be far more extensive than isdescribed in the Application and is much more likely to be as described in the EMS, or even moreextensive. Without the constant presence of an Arboriculturist I do not think it will be safe for thework to be done to this tree. The works done on this Parkland to this tree, and others growing onit, when done without supervision, have not followed what one might describe as best practice, oreven followed what has been stated in an Arboricultural Method Statement, if there was one, asthe way the work should be done. The EMS says there will be such a person present, and alsosays that if things deviate from the Contractor's expectation then one will be fetched. Which istrue?The roots of the typical Ash Tree are to be found in the top 39 inches of soil. This trench will bedug to a depth of 43 inches. It will be 20 to 30 inches wide. It will be 65 feet long. Roots will besevered regardless of their size, and probably many of them. The pipe and the inspectionchambers must go in!I quote from the EMS "once backfilled the roots are likely to repopulate the ground". The use of theword "likely" is rather optimistic. How about "possibly able"? It all depends upon the species of treeand the size and number of the roots cut. Maybe the contractor could add mycorrhizae to thebackfill? Maybe the tree could be watered during the summer by bowser (at the Applicant's

expense)?

The Path: The laying of this path is likely to affect the tree's roots as well. A method of installationhas been described that seems to be the one least likely to do extensive damage. I'll leave it toothers with greater expertise, or who have read around the British Standards and theSpecifications, to comment on this aspect, save to say that I have read somewhere that thesepaths cannot be constructed over Services. We know there will be a sewer under its course. Weknow there is cabling under its course. Maybe there are water and gas pipes too?My main concern about the path is - Why is it going there? It is for disabled access, but whoactually is going to use it? How many people are going to use it at any one time?I have read again the two failed Planning Applications to build a bigger pavilion on the land, andthe failed Appeal against the rejection of those two Applications. The biggest factor leading tothose failures was the failure of the Applicant to submit a Transport Plan to BCC Highways todescribe how the Applicant was going to manage the fact that West Dene and South Dene aretotally unsuitable for any increase in traffic above what happens already - i.e. the traffic required toserve the residents. We have all seen the video of the huge coach being driven in reverse alongthe length of West Dene into Coombe Lane, narrowly squeezing between vehicles (guided mosthelpfully by a resident I might add). BCC Planning saw that video as well.Is this path being constructed so that the West Dene entrance to the Pavilion becomes thepreferred entrance for everyone, disabled or not? If so, does Highways at BCC know that? If theydo know, how have things changed? If the path and entrance become the preferred route,because the Pavilion is the same size as it was when first built, it will be interesting to see whathappens when the Pavilion is in use, because two other things have changed meanwhile - the sizeof the coaches/buses on the roads today, and car ownership. When the mums and dads come tothe Field where are they going to park their cars? What roads are they going to drive along?Where will the coaches turn? Will they manage to squeeze past the parked vehicles withoutcausing damage? Where will the coaches disgorge the school children? Will the children be safe -maybe in the middle of the road?Why has the wall at the West Dene entrance been knocked down? Was this accidental? Will it berepaired? If it is repaired, will it be accidentally or deliberately wider than it was? If it is wider, whosaid it could be? It is the Council's wall, not the Applicant's.This "installation of path for disabled access" is really a separate consideration so that theseissues can be aired, and should have been treated as such. Yes there are TPO implications forthat path installation, but when a house is built on development land and there is a TPO tree onthat land, it does not go on the Planning Portal as a /VP application. It is a developmentapplication and the TPO is listed under "Constraints". Why does a different process apply here?There has to be a Planning Application of course as a TPO tree will be affected by thedevelopment - the construction of a pathway - but not a /VP application. There is quite a tangledweb that has been woven here. It requires a separate Application to sort it out and determine itappropriately. There are too many questions that are not dealt with by, and thus cannot bedetermined in, a /VP Application for a cellular pathway.

Suggested Conditions attaching to any Planning Permission:If permission to dig the trench is given as the decision for this application please condition:The amount of work being kept to the minimum not the maximum.The constant presence of an Arboriculturist to supervise the Contractors.The addition of mycorrhizae or similar to the backfill soil.The regular watering of the whole root area affected during the Summer.

The path construction part of this project deserves, and should get, a more detailed considerationwith a separate development application. If BCC were to request that then maybe there could notbe amongst commentators the suggestion that these two separate proposals have been "bundled"into one /VP Application, in order to get the path proposals through without proper consideration orpublic consultation. That is the inference despite no suggestion that it was the intention.

Please could any permission ensure a condition that the wall is repaired and restored to the formermeasurements, using the original stone, which the Applicant has stored amongst the "works".

on 2021-03-27   OBJECT

I reluctantly find myself unable to support this application.

From the online description of works it reads that the work to the foul pipe may not be necessary,presumably this application is the cover the eventuality that it may be. This leaves me unsure ofwhat will happen although the fact that there has been an application for the work this time giventhe previous trenching activity for which permission was not sought nor advice given despite theproximity to the protected tree, gives me some hope that things will be done sympathetically. Ihave no expertise in the area but the method statement appears to address the issues thatpresent themselves in these cases. It does look as though this application has been presentedprematurely and the exploratory work should have been done first if possible. Should this begranted, I have no confidence that the school would use the permission as intended.

The path providing disabled access, however I am very uncomfortable with. The method andmaterials to spread the load and not interfere with tree roots or give undue compaction is laudablebut having read into permitted development when the fence went up, I now know that this pathwould not fall under that.Where would the path be? What size? What about a ramp to take it to the height of the pavilionplinth? What about causing a potential trip hazard to users of the perimeter? There are too manyunanswered questions for this matter to be considered let alone passed.There is also the matter of the 'change of use' of this land. The perimeter walkway has alreadybeen formed without the necessary application and proper use class change consent.

Cotham School are wont to make these gradual changes, (the lead on the project making full useof her previous experience in the planning department) and past actions have caused such anerosion of trust that every operation must now be scrutinised if we are to be certain that nodamage is to be done nor rules or laws broken.I am very much in support of accessible entrances but despite promises and assurances from theschool this has proved not to be an issue of importance to them so there must be more behind it.The original stone wall, until recently listed as part of the curtilage of the listed Stoke LodgeHouse, had an opening in it that never presented any problems of accessibility in the past. In orderthat the fence could be put up, Bristol City Council reversed the status of the curtilage and thus,the status of the wall. Now, that wall has been partially destroyed to create a much wider gap inanticipation of a successful outcome, which I find quite astonishing.The fact that this extra width is deemed necessary indicates to me that they anticipate using thisentrance as the main entrance to the site in direct opposition to the details they gave on thefunding bid to ESFA and to the recommendations of the planning officers and independentinspector who refused to give permission to have the pavilion rebuilt because of concerns aboutthe increased capacity. Despite not having permission to do it, the rebuilding of the pavilion to acapacity of 120 (three times the former capacity) has happened anyway. (Appeal Ref:APP/Z0116/W/18/3218485 ). As such I am not happy that this path with the potential to causesuch danger, damage and disruption is pushed through with an application that pretends to be allabout drains and tree roots. If the path is needed then it should be treated separately with theproper permissions in place from the correct authorities before planning permission is sought.

Ideally this application should be withdrawn until there is more information to give, then submittedin two parts, but as it stands, it should be rejected.

on 2021-03-25   OBJECT

My objection is on the grounds that these works- widening of entrance and laying ofconcrete path are clearly part of the plan to make the West Dene entrance the main entry point forthe school and presumably any 3rd parties who will use the pavilion.The transport arrangements need to achieve this have been rejected as inadequate by Planningseveral times in connection with the original plans to build a new pavilion.If these works are approved it should be on the basis that this is NOT giving approval for use ofWest Dene as the main point of entry.

on 2021-03-25   OBJECT

I believe that officers should refuse to consider this application (or, if they consider it,reject it) since:(a) changes have been made to the description of works that indicate that excavation within thetree roots may be unnecessary and(b) the other proposed works are not permitted development - the extent to which protected treeswould be affected by the construction of a path should be assessed as part of a proper planningapplication.

Firstly, as regards the sewage pipe:

The documents submitted with the application state that the 'existing pipe work is no longerfunctional and does not meet current building regulations'. The ALMS says: 'The foul sewerserving the pavilion requires replacement to satisfy building regulations.'

However, the description of the works at the head of the online application has been changed tostate that 'the client is exploring the possibilities of repair work requiring only minor excavations'.

These statements cannot both be correct. Either the pipe can potentially be repaired, or it requiresreplacement to meet building regulations. Works to TPO trees should only be undertaken wherethey are necessary, and the implication of the changes to the online application are that it is notcurrently the case that the works have been shown to be necessary. In that case the application is

premature and should be withdrawn or dismissed.

In passing, it is good to see that the ALMS appears to be more thorough than reports provided byprevious consultants; local residents are also pleased to see that permission was requested onthis occasion rather than unlawful trenching being carried out with no permission, as hashappened twice before in this same location.

As regards the path:

My understanding is that this is not permitted development in relation to playing field land. Thedefinition of playing field land in Department for Education guidance includes 'local authorityparkland or other open space that is used, or has been used in the last ten years, for the purposesof a maintained school'. It also includes informal and social areas, marginal land and habitatareas. It specifically says that a path is non-playing field land - so the proposed change of usefrom playing field to non-playing field land is evident.

This has two consequences: first, prior approval must be obtained from the Department forEducation; and secondly, the land is excluded from the GPDO classes of permitted development.

In relation to DfE consent the guidance states that, even where a General Consent Order applies,'You will need to apply to or notify the Education Funding Agency of any intended transaction todispose [or change the use] of any playing field land, and you should not assume that approval willbe granted... You must not take any steps... before you have received the Secretary of State'sconsent'.

Separately, a proper planning application is required to build a path/hard standing on playing fieldland. It is neither appropriate nor sufficient to deal with this as an application for tree works.

While the principle of creating accessible paths is of course welcome (and is something that WLSLhas repeatedly raised since the installation of the fence), I do not believe that this is the school'sreal motivation in this case. I note that the school has repeatedly refused to make good on itsprevious public commitments in this respect and has not seen accessibility as a concern to date.In December 2019 Nuala Gallagher confirmed to local residents that 'The School have nothighlighted any changes to the externals of the building and the approaches, so they are compliantwith the Equalities Act 2010 in that they are not making the building less accessible than it alreadyis'.

The path is important to the school not for accessibility reasons but because it would be used astheir main entrance/exit point. This defies the advice previously provided by BCC officers that thelocal roads are unsafe for coach drop-offs and pick-ups and for heavy club use. This was the solereason why officers and the Planning Inspectorate have on three occasions rejected the school'sapplications to rebuild the changing rooms. Nuala Gallagher also stated: 'Concerns have been

raised in relation to the increased coach traffic, unsafe drop off and collection of pupils, coachparking/waiting, blocking of driveways, unsafe manoeuvers by coaches and parking by usersduring evenings and at weekends... Property, Highways and Sustainable Transport officers willcontinue to engage with Cotham School, to find solutions to these issues.'

The Planning Inspector was very clear that BCC officers were correct about the highway risks topupils and the public; the Inspector also stated that the school's fence would make the situationsubstantially worse by channelling all traffic to this unsuitable point. And yet, having undertaken asubstantial rebuild of the pavilion under the guise of 'repairs and maintenance' the school nowwishes to build a formal entrance under the guise of 'tree works'.

In order to be able to use grant funding obtained for a new building to instead refurbish the existingchanging rooms, the school gave commitments to the DfE about its use of public money. Theseincluded a commitment that coach drop-off and pick-up points would be elsewhere (e.g. onShirehampton Road as now) and that the changing rooms would not be made available for clubhire. The school gave the following assurance in order to obtain that public money:

'Parking and travel considerations are not an issue with this re-scoped application as the schoolhas not been able to include all of the facilities in the floor plan of the proposed refurbishment...The core purpose of the pavilion will be to provide facilitiesfor the students of Cotham School... All travel to the playing fields is through coach hire withstudents embarkingfrom the coach onto a designated bus stop on the main road... Students embark back to theschool using the same location.'

The school's wish to create a main entrance here is a deliberate attempt to circumvent theacknowledged highways issues (having given a commitment not to do this in order to obtain publicmoney). It is also an attempt to do so without engaging in proper consultation via the full planningprocess. Previous experience suggests that facilitating the school's wish to avoid proper planningprocesses leads only to greater difficulty, time and cost in the long run.

Finally, there are serious flaws in the application itself. The documents do not identify the locationof the path, where the ramp would be and how it would avoid obstructing level access for users ofthe perimeter walkway. In addition, the path to the stone wall would cross over claimed TVG landand the start of a claimed public right of way. Anything that impedes those rights, onceestablished, may have to be removed.

It would be a breach of due process for officers to allow the path application to be considered as atree works application. Proper process would require prior DfE consent and a full planningapplication, as part of which the highway and traffic issues could be considered. For thesereasons, and because there is no indication that works to replace the sewage pipe are a necessityas originally claimed, the application should be rejected unless it is previously withdrawn.

on 2021-03-25  

2

is not enough information available to help inform a decision about whether this type of path

is either required or feasible - the presence of underground services alone may make this type

of path infeasible.

We have no objection to the installation of a path in principle, but more information is needed

before the planning authority can consider whether the proposed Part 2 works should be

allowed to proceed. The exact route, its design and the specifications required both under

building regulations, disabled access requirements and in order to comply with the guidance

set out in the Arboricultural Association’s Guidance Note 12: The Use of Cellular Confinement

Systems near Trees: A Guide to Good Practice (the Guidance), all need to be published before

this matter can properly be considered.

Our objections to the proposals

1. The presence of underground services passing beneath the proposed no-dig footpath

may make its installation infeasible.

No drawings of the proposed footpath showing its location, route and dimensions have been

published. We believe it is likely to start at the recently widened gap in the boundary wall just

off Ebenezer Lane and pass through the nearby gate in the security fence onto the concrete

plinth located to the west of the Pavilion. Figure 1 shows the most likely general route of the

path. Whether its layout will stray into the Root Protection Area of T8 remains unclear.

Figure 1 An aerial view showing the likely general route of the path (the yellow line). Part of the

canopy of T8 is clearly visible.

3

Paragraph 77 of the Guidance states:

Underground services should not be routed beneath cellular confinement systems

because they may need to be accessed in the future, either for repair or for making new

connections, which could severely compromise the installation. On many development

sites this can be a significant limitation. Therefore, when cellular confinement systems

are specified the requirement for new underground services, and where they need to be

installed, must be detailed at the planning stage.

The applicant has not shown the whole route of the sewer to the Ebenezer Lane, though the

drawing annexed to the Excavation Method Statement produced by Ross Consulting appears to

show part of the sewer passing under at least part of the likely route to the main sewer running

under Ebenezer Lane (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Wessex Water map showing the nearby route of the main underground sewers.

The route of underground gas service also crosses under the likely route of the footpath. Figure

3 shows the gas main passing from Ebenezer Lane to the tower at the rear of the Pavilion.

4

Figure 3 Map showing the location of the underground gas services at the rear of the Pavilion.

Power, data and other services also pass under the likely route of the proposed path. The route

of the underground clean water services to the pavilion needs to be established, but it too is

likely to pass under the route of the proposed path.

The Guidance makes it clear that the presence of these services passing under the path would

most probably make this solution infeasible. This will need to be established before Part 2 of

this application can be decided.

2. Further information needs to be produced before a decision about Part 2 can be made.

The Guidance states the following:

Paragraph 14

The basic approach of using a cellular confinement system over tree root zones can be

prescribed by an arboriculturist, but in order to guarantee that the surface will be

suitably durable the final specification should be produced or approved by a civil

engineer.

5

Paragraph 15

The soil conditions need to be considered when designing a cellular confinement system

because the strength of the particular soil plays an important role in the effectiveness

of the geocell-reinforced base. Standard recommendations for suitable geocell depths

are based on a minimum subgrade California Bearing Ratio (CBR) of 3.4. If the ground is

soft (CBR <3) an engineer should be consulted to determine if an additional sub-base is

needed beneath the cellular confinement system. It is important that the project

engineer has soil information prior to the surface being specified; if a site-specific soil

survey is to be carried out the key information that the engineer requires is the saturated

CBR value of the soil.

Paragraph 18

If they are to be effective, cellular confinement systems must be installed properly with

due regard to the particular circumstances of the site. Practitioners must approach

projects of this nature with the same degree of knowledge, care and ingenuity that they

would bring to any other aspect of a construction project?

Paragraph 22

When geocells are used to protect tree root zones the central concept is that they are

installed above ground and this normally results in a surface that is around 150mm above

the existing ground level for footpaths, and in excess of 300mm above for roads and

driveways. In many cases the necessary level differences required for the installation of

cellular confinement systems over tree root systems make the approach infeasible.

Designers and their clients need to be aware of this and make sure that the necessary

level differences can be accommodated within a project layout.

Paragraph 78

Ramping up from an existing road to a new geocell surface can be difficult to achieve if

there are tree roots at the edge of the road. It may be necessary to create a build-out

in the road so that the ramp can be installed before the geocell begins. The preference

would always be to have ramping formed outside tree root zones but the level change

cause by building a new surface above ground often means that it is not practically

feasible to ramp up from existing roads. In such situations some dig (and possibly ground

consolidation) within the root protection zone of adjacent trees would be required in

order to smoothly connect the two different types of surface construction. Alternatively,

a metal ramp can be installed on minipiles. Adjacent trees could be compromised if there

are significant roots where the excavation for a ramp is required, and all parties involved

should be aware that in this context the use of a cellular confinement system may not

be an appropriate solution. The level differences caused by installing above-ground

6

surfacing can have a variety of consequences; for example in some cases they will dictate

the floor level of buildings in the vicinity.

As this path is intended for disabled access, the provision of suitable ramps to allow disabled

access will need to be specified.2 Any design will also need to take account of the route of the

path to make it suitable for wheelchair use. This and the likely need for ramps at either end of

the path (see paragraph 22) make it essential that the proposed design of the path be available

before this application can be decided.

We understand that there is a height difference between the ground level and the concrete

plinth at the western end of the Pavilion of about 30 cm. Given the relatively short length of

the path, the fact it will be constructed above ground and the presence of the security gate

about halfway along its length, accommodating a suitable ramp will require careful

consideration which may (or may not) have an impact on TPO tree T8 and the other nearby

trees.

Provision will be also needed to remove any potential tripping hazard caused where the

proposed path crosses the path running parallel to and just outside the security fence.

Key recommendation 2

The installation of cellular confinement systems should be directed by a project-specific

arboricultural method statement. The arboricultural method statement should list any

aspect of the proposed construction project that has the potential to adversely impact

adjacent trees and detail appropriate methodologies for how the works will be

undertaken in ways that would minimise those impacts.

No such arboricultural method statement has been produced with the application.

Decisions about all these issues may (or may not) have an impact of the nearby trees and will

need to be addressed before this application can be decided. Leaving it to be dealt with at

some later stage is both unacceptable and impracticable.

Conclusion

The law and practice governing applications to permit tree works to trees subject to a Tree

Preservation Order under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 does not allow for a proper

consideration of the wider implications of installing a path here. Part 2 of the application should

be made as a separate full planning application and not combined here with Part 1. In this way

the evidence required under the Guidance can be produced and the wider (non-tree) issues

2 See the Building Regulations 2010 - Access to and use of buildings

7

likely to be raised can be properly considered.

Our observations about the recent changes to the proposal show that this application is

confused and ambiguous. It should be withdrawn or refused.

For all these reasons, we object to this application.

However, if the planning authority is minded to allow this application in its current form, then

the approval needs to be conditioned to require a new Arboricultural Impact Assessment3 and

Arboricultural Method Statement to be published in respect of both parts of the proposed works.

Evidence also needs to be to be published which deals with the various issues we have raised

above before the Part 2 works can be allowed to proceed.

We note in passing that Ross Consulting suggest that the tree is probably infected with Ash Die

Back (ADB). Given, as is clear from Mr Ross’s report, that he has not visited the site, this can

only be treated as speculation and not germane to this application. No evidence of ADB was

noted by the arboricultural planning officer when they were considering the recent planning

application 20/03288/VP in the late summer of 2020.

Bristol Tree Forum

25 March 2021

3 As far as we have been able to ascertain, the last survey was undertaken on 12th September 2017 as part of planning application 17/06665/F, more than three and a half years ago.

on 2021-03-23   OBJECT

OBJECTION TO WORKSIt is not clear to me whether landowner consent is required under the lease for works such as thisto be carried out when they have potential ramifications for the local residents. To my knowledge ithas not been provided. I also note that a technical expert's report does not seem to have beenattached to the application. Surely this is a requirement?

Aside from damage to an historic wall through widening it and where I would like to see some carefor its structural and aesthetic integrity exercised as well as its history, I am concerned that anapplication for tree works should follow proper process.I remain to be convinced that laying the path falls within the Permitted Development rules. Clearly,if it does not, then a full Planning Application is required and this would have to take account ofother aspects such as the serious traffic issues that have formed the basis for objections fromlocal residents whose lives are made intolerable by Cotham School ignoring the difficulties theycreate. The views of local residents in this need to be formally considered not side-lined throughthe undemanding pursuit of this through Permitted Development.

I also have a concern that this footpath would legally mean a change of use for this playing fieldland. Having consulted the Department for Education guidance, I see that even marginal/boundaryareas are playing field land. Paving over an area of the playing field makes it no longer playingfield land and therefore subject to a separate process. I do not see how Cotham School are able topick and choose their interpretation or compliance.

Overall, I have a concern that this will join a list of incremental planning decisions cynicallyengineered by Cotham School. Whilst this is, on the surface, an innocent application for tree worksand drainage improvements, widening the entrance could be the basis for Cotham School seeking

approval to use this as the main entrance/exit point. I would like to request that the BCC officer'sreport makes clear that approval, if given and under whatever circumstances, relates solely towhether the proposed tree works are acceptable and that it has no impact on previous advice fromhighway officers. This is because planning permission has previously been refused twice andagain on appeal for the lack of a credible or effective transport plan. No widening of access orlaying of a footpath will provide the effective solution to traffic management that full planningpermission will require by BCC to allow the West Dene entrance to be used in this way.

on 2021-03-21  

I appreciate this needs to be done, but I wish it to be noted that the trees and their rootsare protected as much as possible, and the wall adjacent to the lane is listed and the stonesremoved (presumably for access) will be reinstated and the wall rebuilt as it was originally. It is notsuitable for heavy traffic.

on 2021-03-21   OBJECT

On the face of it, this is a simple Application for work to upgrade a foul sewer system that couldaffect the roots of a TPO tree.

Superficially, this is acceptable with the inclusion of tree protection barriers and all the correctweasel words in a "Tree Protection Plan" to protect the tree roots BUT the Application alsohighlights "A disabled access path will be required leading from the Northern pedestrian gate tothe pavilion.....".

Such a path falls outside the scope of any permitted development rights associated withrefurbishing the pavilion and, therefore, the Applicant should be submitting a full Application tocover these proposals.

As a further side issue, there's the question of whether "landowner consent" from BCC is requiredfor such a path under the terms of the Applicant's lease.

Historically, BCC's approach to works on their leased land at Stoke Lodge has been more thangenerous in their interpretation of "permitted development" in agreeing to both the installation of aboundary fence and the refurbishment of the pavilion.

Additionally, should this Application be granted, it should be conditioned such that that the historic(listed?) boundary wall between Ebenezer Lane and the pavilion site - where the proposed pathstarts - should be fully reinstated to its original state.

on 2021-03-19   OBJECT

I wish to object to further ongoing damage to trees and grounds of Stoke Lodge PlayingFields by Cotham School (via Ross Consulting).

The proposed plans risk significant damage to trees with TPOs.

Cotham has repeatedly failed to follow guidance and its sub-contractors have damaged StokeLodge.