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Villagers’ outrage as housebuilder chops down 11 trees it had promised to leave alone

February 14th, 2017

Residents of Banbury Lane, King’s Sutton were infuriated at the end of last week when housebuilder Barwood Homes carried out the felling of 11 mature Aspen trees on the boundary of its “Little Rushes” development. These perfectly healthy trees, which provided a home for green and white woodpeckers as well as other wildlife, were chopped down by Barwood’s contractors last Thursday and Friday, February 9/10, despite the vociferous protests of local residents, who had previously been assured by the company that these and other trees on the site would not be endangered by its development.

Barwood’s ecological survey, which formed part of its controversial planning application for the Little Rushes estate, stated that “existing habitats within the site [were] to be retained within the development proposals with only minor losses of aspen, crack willow and ash trees necessary to facilitate the connection of the drainage culvert in the north west of the site.” However, the drainage culvert issue had been dealt with some time ago and the 11 aspens felled last week would not have been included in these “minor losses”.

King’s Sutton parish councillor Ronnie Irving, whose Banbury Lane home is adjacent to the site, said:

“I called the Site Manager several times to remind him of the company’s previous assurances and left messages but never received the courtesy of a reply. The work just went ahead willy-nilly. It seems a great pity that so many healthy trees have been knocked down.”

Chairman of the parish council’s planning committee, Councillor Tom Forde, also attempted to intervene, emailing an urgent request to Barwood Homes reminding the company that the flood alleviation design work for the site assumed that the trees would be retained and that “while some management of the trees may [have been] desirable, their wholesale and indiscriminate removal [was] unacceptable.” In reply, a senior technical manager at Barwood, Damien Smyth Hudson, confirmed that some works to the trees within the site boundary were being undertaken, claiming that these were “essential works... to remove various large over hanging branches that extend over the footprint and gardens of plot 34”. However, the tree surgeon undertaking the trees’ removal had in fact been ordered by Barwood to take them down to ground level.

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