Beds, Herts & Bucks

Royston trees cut down without permission 'could be replaced in spring'

Baldock Road, Royston Image copyright Brigid Hickey
Image caption About nine trees remain on the edge of the housing development on Baldock Road

A developer which chopped down trees without permission has pledged to come up with plans to plant replacements.

Redrow Homes said the trees were removed from the edge of a new-build housing site in Royston, Hertfordshire, for drainage works to be carried out.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) said a planning application "clearly indicated" the trees would be retained.

A Redrow spokesman said it was working on an "updated landscaping proposal to include replacement planting".

The belt of trees on Baldock Road sat between Therfield Heath and new development, Hedera Gardens.

Eleanor Sapsford, who lives near Royston, said the trees had started to disappear about two weeks ago, leaving just nine in an 80m stretch.

"There are several metres now between each rather sad-looking mature tree that remains," she said.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The "woodland belt" on Baldock Road stood between Therfield Heath and new development, Hedera Gardens

The council said Redrow "did not have permission" to remove the trees, and called them "an important landscape feature".

Councillor Paul Clark, who is responsible for planning at the district council, said Redrow "clearly indicated... that the mature woodland belt fronting Baldock Road was to be retained and managed".

He said planning officers were discussing with Redrow how to repair the damage.

The authority said it hoped Redrow would supply replacement trees in this planting season in March and April.

John Mann, of Redrow Homes, South Midlands, said the trees were removed to create a drainage feature to manage surface water run-off "as requested by the county council".

"In line with our initial plans, we are working closely with the district council on an updated landscaping proposal to include replacement planting in the areas where trees have been removed," he said.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire County Council said: "We approved the soakaway design without approving any tree removals as this is not within our remit.

"Any discussions around the removal of trees would have been dealt with by the developer and North Herts District Council, as we said at the design phase."

Image copyright Brigid Hickey
Image caption Redrow Homes said trees had been removed for a drainage feature

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