Tree-emptive strike to protect area being eyed up for development near Milton Keynes

    Councillors have agreed a ‘tree-emptive’ strike to protect a large area of woodland and countryside from developers who are straining on the leash to build in the area.

    Officers at Milton Keynes Council had taken the unusual step of covering a large area between Lower End Road, Wavendon, and Tavistock Close and Cranfield Road, Woburn Sands, with a temporary tree preservation order (TPO).

    “This is probably the largest TPO I’ve seen either in the area covered or the number of trees,” said Cllr Keith McLean (Cons, Olney) at Thursday’s meeting of the development control panel.

    “It’s great. It’s proactively looking to protect trees development in the future but it doesn’t mean that the TPO couldn’t be overturned on one or two trees specifically later.

    “It does give a degree of protection, and I’ve not seen anything like this in my eight or nine years on development control.

    “I’m very pleased and I hope that the tree officers are going to be doing similar things elsewhere in the borough that may be subject to development options later.”

    The site encompasses Cross End and the Wavendon Golf Course site and the meeting was told that the application attracted 10 objections from eight addresses, for a variety of reasons.

    The panel, who had to make the decision because of the objections, heard that if residents want to carry out work on protected trees they can apply to do so for free.

    Richard Edgington, a senior planning officer, said: “Within the site there is known to be some development potentially coming forward, so really it’s just the council seeking to be proactive in terms of protecting the quite valuable trees in the site and make sure we have that layer of protection.”

    TPOs give legal protection to trees, making it a criminal offence to cut, damage, or destroy them without the consent of the council.

    Fines can be up to £20,000, or even unlimited if someone is convicted in a Crown Court trial, the report to councillors said.

    There were no members of the public or anyone else who spoke in objection to the application to make the TPO permanent.

    Development control chairman Cllr Anthony Brown (Lab, Tattenhoe) praised council officers for the “huge amount of work” done on the application.

    And he added: “The fact that it is proactive, given how important these mature trees and woodland are environmentally I think it’s a really positive step forward.”

    The five members of the panel all voted to make the temporary tree preservation order permanent.

    © MKFM News 2020 

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