One per cent incursion into tree root protection area unacceptable

Two appeals against non-compliance with a condition and refusal of reserved matters, both regarding the access for a development of 38 dwellings on the edge of a settlement in Cornwall, were refused for significant harm to the character and appearance of the area from the loss of a hedge bank and the contrasting engineered form and appearance of the new access itself.

The appeal site already had outline planning permission and the approved access was to be through an adjoining development granted permission for 104 homes, but agreement over the provision of the access from the adjoining site had not been reached and the appellants were now asking for a new 4.8-metre-wide site access including 2.4 metre by 43 metre visibility splays in both directions.

In assessing the proposal, the inspector considered the new access would involve the loss of a significant length of mature hedge bank and involve work to a TPO mature tree’s root protection area which was likely to disturb it and be detrimental to its long-term health. Although he noted that the disturbance works would only affect one per cent of the RPA, he considered this was still harmful because by definition the minimum root protection area was that deemed necessary to contain sufficient roots and rooting volume to maintain the tree’s viability and was where the protection of roots and soil structure was a priority. He felt the outcome of both the works to trees and hedge removal would seriously adversely affect the distinctive character and appearance of the hillside location. He also held that the proposed compensatory new hedge planting would take years to mature and would not offset or adequately mitigate the harms identified. 

Inspector: Neil Pope; Written representations

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