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Pleasington tree removal sparks planning row
7:00pm Saturday 18th August 2012 in News
SILVER birch trees have been cleared from a patch of land sparking a planning row.
Frank Barnes, of Regents Close, Pleasington, cut down the trees on the patch of land he owns behind the three bungalows near the Butlers Arms pub.
But he was shocked when Blackburn with Darwen Council’s tree preservation officer Russell Critchley imposed a replanting order on the land.
According to council chiefs, Mr Barnes was only given permission to thin the trees on the land, not clear them.
But the 75-year-old said that was never the case.
Mr Barnes said: “In 2009, one of the trees was overhanging on the road and a woman damaged her car, so the neighbours asked me to remove it.
“When the tree surgeon had a walk through the wood, he found a number of trees were in a dangerous condition.”
Mr Barnes commissioned a survey of the trees in the wood, which saw a number of them tagged, meaning they needed to be removed, and several more sprayed with a red dye, also meaning they should be chopped down.
He submitted the findings of the survey along with a planning application to cut down the trees and permission was granted.
But work was soon ceased by the council.
It was explained to Mr Barnes that the council did not pay attention to the red dye and so deemed that these had not formed part of its planning approval.
A meeting was held between Mr Barnes, Mr Critchley and two Pleasington councillors, Couns Alan Cottam and John Pearson, at which it was eventually agreed he could cut down the remaining trees that had been marked.
He said: “In May, I received a letter saying I had agreed to replant oak trees, four metres apart, on the land.
“I did not agree to plant any trees whatsoever. But the letter said that, because I hadn’t done so, a replanting order was being imposed.”
Mr Barnes has appealed the order.
Pleasington councillor Alan Cottam said he wanted to see the trees replanted.
He said: “The landowner has gone over the top and cut too many of them down. I would like to see the land replanted.”