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Fury after developer rips down and damages protected trees on new estate

24 Mar 2023 3 minute read
The new housing site on former St Johns School

Residents and councillors in Bridgend County Borough have vented their frustrations at a local planning committee this week, after developer Taylor-Wimpey was said to have caused ‘significant damage’ to protected trees on a former school site in Newton, Porthcawl.

The development of fifty-seven residential units on the site of the former St John’s School, which is located within the historical village of Newton, is expected to be completed by the end of the year after planning approval was granted in 2021.

However, even though the developer was expected to retain a number of protected trees on the site as part of the proposal, residents and councillors claimed many had been badly damaged over the course of the construction period.

It is now feared by locals that the loss of the trees could have an impact on local wildlife, as well as increasing the risk of flood problems at the site.

Council bosses came together to discuss a renewed proposal from the company for a revised tree retention plan, which includes replanting trees and altered landscaping.

Mechanical damage

While it was noted that a number of the trees were planned to be removed as part of the project, others that were protected were cited as having mechanical damage after safeguarding measures were not followed, resulting in the removal of a Poplar and a Sycamore.

The report read: “The application has been submitted as a result of an enforcement investigation regarding the removal of a number of trees on the site and seeks to agree an updated package of drawings to reflect the current position with regard to tree retention, tree works and tree loss. A revised landscaping scheme has also been submitted proposing new areas of tree planting where trees have been removed.”

The appraisal in the report added: “As development progressed, it became apparent that the applicant company were not following all the safeguarding measures in terms of development within the root protection zones of the retained trees.

This was observed by residents and reported to the council. In a number of locations, the poor working practices of the development company had impacted the trees and the council requested that a revised tree survey be carried out.”

Cllr Jonathan Pratt of Newton said: “As the local member this has been in my inbox since May, and living directly in the area I do want to discuss the level of anger this has caused from my residents.”

Other councillors at the meeting also questioned whether or not further enforcement could be looked at for the damage caused to the trees, before deciding on whether or not to retrospectively approve the new plans put forward by Taylor-Wimpey.

After a vote it was decided to defer discussions on the proposals for a further six weeks, while further analysis was done to discover the condition of the soil at the site, along with any additional landscaping that could take place.

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Barbara H
Barbara H
1 year ago

Fine them heavily. They do this on a regular basis. If the housing is shoddy, fine them again.

1 year ago
Reply to  Barbara H

You’re right of course but, unfortunately, the developer will probably recoup the cost of a fine by increasing the cost of the houses. The cost always ends with the general public. .

1 year ago

Stop them building in the area for a specified length of time, perhaps until replacement trees are planted and grown in the same position as the ones that were damaged, it’s as if the original trees were growing in a place that did not fit in with their plans so they damage or destroy them by accident or is that being too cynical

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 year ago

Why am I not surprised? All these greedy developers are interested in is pimping out Wales for as much gold as they can – whether their sh*”£y lego set houses are needed or not. Fine them, and ban them from ‘developing’ in Wales for a time period. And scrap the LDPs and start again with more meaningful plans that looks at the actual housing needs of communities instead of ‘population projection forecasts’ which have an infamous history of being way out.

1 year ago

Personally I would not buy a new house built where trees used to grow. As the roots rot the ground will shift and may cause serious subsidence. These developers who cut down trees first and answer questions later need to be stopped perhaps by not giving them or withdrawing planning permission. Unfortunately this will never happen as a lot of developers have probably handed out a few brown envelopes to the right people beforehand.

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