Dovedale Avenue residents outraged as they learn of plans to fell oak tree the night before

Posted on - 9th December, 2020 - 4:12pm | Author - | Posted in - Cottam, Ingol, Politics, Preston Council, Preston News
The oak tree which was set to be felled today (Wednesday, 9 December). Pic: Cllr John Potter.

Residents of Dovedale Avenue, Ingol, were devastated to learn of Community Gateway Association’s (CGA) intentions to fell the majestic oak tree which is a thing of beauty in their community.

The tree was considered ‘good condition’ in a 2015 planning application, (06/2016/0237) but now the building has been erected, CGA want to take the tree down referring to it as ‘unsafe.’

Locals insist the tree has looked the exact same for at least the last 20 years.

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Residents were also concerned about the bats in the tree as they are a protected species.

CGA only contacted residents yesterday evening (Tuesday, 8 December) to notify them of the felling, which gave the community no opportunity to challenge the decision.

A copy of the letter that was delivered to residents the day before the felling was due to take place. Pic: supplied by a resident.

Residents want to maintain the tree, rather than have it felled, as it is an asset to the community.

This morning (Wednesday, 9 December) Cllr John Potter visited the oak tree after contacting the council regarding the position of the residents.

Cllr John Tweeted:
“Outside the beautiful & healthy Turkey oak tree on Dovedale Ave, Preston.”
Pic: Cllr John Potter

They responded quickly with a statement confirming that the tree is indeed identified for retention.

The council have now advised CGA not to fell the tree until the matter has been resolved to avoid any potential breach of the planning permission.

Lee Garry. Pic: CGA

Head of Asset Management at CGA, Lee Garry, said: “Community Gateway has received several independent inspection reports, including one from just over two months ago, which flagged up potential concerns about the overall condition of the oak tree.

“We monitor all our trees regularly as part of our comprehensive tree surveying programme. For a development to be officially completed, we need to go through several checks with the local authorities  – one of which includes ensuring any footpaths meet highways regulations.

“During that check, we were informed that the oak, in its present state, would not meet the current regulations and significant works would need to be undertaken in order for it to do so, which in turn would further compromise its current stance; it leans quite considerably.

“Our previous development contractor unfortunately went into administration and we have only just been able to appoint a new contractor.

“At CGA, the welfare of our customers and communities is of paramount importance, and as we intend to shortly open The Courtyards independent living scheme to residents and the wider community, we need to move swiftly to ensure it is safe to do so.

“We are liaising with both Preston City and Lancashire County Councils to ensure an agreed way forward. Naturally, the last thing we would want to do is to fell a tree, but as a responsible landlord we must ensure the health and safety of our customers and the wider community.

“We would like to reassure everyone that all options have and will continue to be fully explored before a decision is made. Local residents and Councillors will also be kept informed.”

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