Developer fined thousands for failing to protect trees

May 29 2018
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A developer has been fined nearly £7000 for failing to protect trees on a site in Castle Street, Thornbury, called Stokefield House.

Churchill Retirement Living, based in Hampshire, develops and runs retirement homes. It was turning Stokefield House into flats. 

The planning permission conditions specified that root protection areas must be maintained away from construction activities to protect the trees.  

Damage was spotted by a tree officer on a routine visit. A subsequent investigation by South Gloucestershire Council found that all three trees had in fact been damaged. The root damage means that they are now ineffective at drawing up water and nutrients which could have an impact on their lifespan. 

Bristol Magistrates Court ordered Churchill to pay £6753.23 in fines and costs. 

Churchill pleaded guilty to two counts of tree damage in contravention of a Tree Preservation Order. The company was fined £1,250 for each count and ordered to pay costs of £4,133.25 along with a victim surcharge of £120, totalling £6753.25.

Councillor Colin Hunt, Cabinet Member for Planning, Transport and the Strategic Environment, said: “Planning regulations are put in place to help protect the local environment and we take any breaches very seriously. In this case, the developer had endangered trees on the site by ignoring their responsibilities and not protecting their roots.”

“This prosecution sends a clear message that we will take action against those who disregard preservation orders.”