Mature trees felled in Stevenage to make way for homes that do not have planning permission

PUBLISHED: 08:30 20 March 2020

Trees have been felled in Stevenage's Eliot Road. Picture: Tom Wren

Trees have been felled in Stevenage's Eliot Road. Picture: Tom Wren

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More than a dozen trees have been felled in Stevenage to make way for a housing development which does not actually have planning permission.

The trees are understood to have been felled to make way for a housing development which doesn't actually have planning permission. Picture: Tom WrenThe trees are understood to have been felled to make way for a housing development which doesn't actually have planning permission. Picture: Tom Wren

More than a dozen trees have been felled in Stevenage to make way for a housing development which does not actually have planning permission.

A planning application was submitted to Stevenage Borough Council in January for 13 semi-detached and terraced homes to be built on the former Chells play area in Eliot Road.

The Comet understands ownership of the land will transfer from the borough council to developer Keepmoat Homes.

A planning permission decision has not yet been made. However, more than a dozen mature trees have been felled on the site, giving the impression planning permission is a foregone conclusion and calling into question the council’s commitment to tackling the global climate change emergency.

Some of the felled trees are believed to be more than 100 years old. Picture: Tom WrenSome of the felled trees are believed to be more than 100 years old. Picture: Tom Wren

Cllr Tom Wren, who represents the Chells ward on SBC, said 16 mature trees - a mixture of oak and ash and some more than 100 years old - were cut down last week after the council granted the developer site access and permission.

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He said: “I am astonished the council has taken this approach to a site which has not yet had planning permission granted. This approach makes it appear to neighbouring residents that the decision is just a formality and that their views won’t be taken into account.”

He added: “The council has done this just a few months after declaring a climate emergency. Last week they were congratulating themselves for planting a handful of fruit trees and this week have allowed these trees to be destroyed.”

One resident said: “This is outrageous. I know housing is needed, but so are green spaces and play areas. There must still be brownfield sites that could be used instead.”

People living in Eliot Road have also raised concerns over parking, increased traffic and congestion.

A Keepmoat Homes spokesperson said: “Keepmoat Homes has commenced minor tree clearance works on the Eliot Road site with the prior consent of the landowner, Stevenage Borough Council. This work has been done ahead of required remediation works to remove contamination to facilitate any future development.

“The planning application is currently being consulted on by the local planning authority and will be determined at a future planning committee meeting.”

The Comet contacted the council for comment, but they had not responded at the time of going to press.

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