Stoke Lodge Trees

Tree report to the Stoke Bishop Forum October 2012

Some of you may recall that some time ago you sanctioned an Appeal to the DC (North) Committee Meeting against the decision of a BCC Tree Officer not to grant Tree Protection Orders on the 8 remaining fine specimen trees at Stoke Lodge which had been left without TPOs after the last “round”.

After a lot of work and having gained the support of the Neighbourhood Partnership as well, on 12th September the Appeal, made to Councillors on the Planning Committee, was successful. The Committee preferred our argument that the trees should be protected with Tree Preservation Orders over the view of the BCC Chief Tree Officer that the trees were safe in BCCs hands, and overturned the refusal.

This means that all 13 major trees identified by the Friends of Stoke Lodge and classified by the Woodland Trust as “Notable” now enjoy TPOs, as do also many of the boundary trees. Touch one at your peril ye developers – it will cost you £20,000 each tree, almost as bad to bear as the wrath of the residents of Stoke Bishop.

The vote of the 8 member Committee was unanimous. Each had their own example of trees supposedly under good stewardship in their Wards being felled because of oversights and errors on the part of BCC.

I argued that the Arboretum was Bristol’s Kew Gardens, and that was their opportunity on behalf of the City to prevent the sordid spectacle of residents running around at 4.30 on a Friday trying to mobilise emergency TPOs when yet again someone at BCC might have made a stupid error and developers moved in with their chain saws. This was a bit melodramatic, but it worked.

We should all thank the many residents who had written Public Statements in support of the Appeal and those several who turned up on the day to say their three minute piece before the Committee. This all helped – it was a measure of the strength of local feeling. The erudition of NP03 was more than the Committee could cope with.

One of the trees is currently particularly poorly and we want some reassurance that what can be done will be done, and some of the others are being neglected rather with ivy and elder growing around and up into them. Friends of Stoke Lodge Group and the Stoke Lodge Working Group will help with assessing this and campaigning for some work to be done I am sure.

Also in the news: There will be a Community Tree Planting Event at Trymside between October and March. More details will be provided later

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