Scots Pine in Epsom

Council solve Scots Pine tree puzzle


The Planning Committee Meeting, held at Epsom Town Hall on 7 September 2023 centred around two key topics: a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) concerning a Scots Pine tree in Grafton Road and the modification of approved plans for a construction project in Boleyn Avenue. After a brief discussion, two motions were passed.
Regarding the Scots Pine tree TPO, a historical mapping error had inaccurately placed the tree. Originally, it was marked as if it were located in the front garden of No. 10, but it was listed under the address of No. 8 in the TPO schedule. To rectify this, it was recommended to issue a new TPO, providing temporary protection to the tree. The Planning Development and Enforcement officer presented the motion and explained the TPO application procedure, highlighting the historical nature of
the error.

Three key recommendations emerged:

  1. Confirmation of Tree Preservation Order No. 476A without modification
  2. Revocation of Tree Preservation Order No. 476.
  3. Modification of Tree Preservation Order No. 6 to remove the reference to Pine T17.

However, some debate ensued as both the tree owner and the neighbour raised concerns. Their primary worries included the tree’s height, branches falling during strong winds, and damage to the pavement caused by birds. Additionally, the tree owner expressed frustration over the extended duration of their application and objection to the TPO.
During the meeting, several councillors voiced concerns about potential limitations on future actions concerning the tree if the TPO application succeeded. Councillor Julian Freeman (LibDem College) questioned the evaluation system and its impact on daylight where the trees were located, while Councillor Peter O’Donovan (RA Ewell Court) expressed concerns about the tree’s size and height and its potential impact on nearby residents and properties.
On the other hand, Councillor Neil Dallen (RA Town) emphasised that the motion primarily aimed to correct documentation. He clarified, “As I understand, for the TPO to be corrected and put in the right place. If the tree gets too big or branches start falling off, then even though it’s got a TPO, they can apply to prune the tree or do whatever’s needed. It’s not causing any damage to property.” The motion passed with one abstention.
The second topic discussed was the modification of approved plans for a construction project at 15 Boleyn Avenue. This project involved a two-story, two-bedroom dwelling with additional garage space. After a brief presentation by the officer and clarifications by Councillor Phil Neale (RA Cuddington), the motion received unanimous approval.

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