Druitt Gardens campaigners celebrate as tree felling scheme thrown out by council

Bournemouth Echo: CONCERNED: Residents against the proposals CONCERNED: Residents against the proposals

CAMPAIGNERS trying to save a number of Christchurch trees from being felled are celebrating after the scheme was narrowly thrown out by councillors.

Around 450 letters of objection were sent to Christchurch council opposing the application to fell seven trees – one bay and six sycamores – in the conservation area of Druitt Gardens.

The application from Renaissance Retirement Ltd follows a proposal by the developer earlier this year to build a retirement complex on the Cornfactor site, just next to the gardens.

Planning consultant James Cain, representing Christchurch Conservation Trust and other concerned residents, said the public were misled by the council justifying the tree works as part of the Druitt Gardens enhancement programme.

The meeting heard that such a programme did not exist.

He also raised the issue of the Cornfactor development, which was originally granted without any reference to these or other tree works.

“A cynic would say that this whole situation has been contrived quite nicely,” he said.

“The trees currently serve a number of purposes, providing a valuable green lung to the town, their stand alone amenity value in what is a well-used public space, accommodating biodiversity and visual screening to existing and future buildings.

“In addition, it would further erode the function of gardens as their original purpose which of course was as a gift for the people of Christchurch from Charlotte Druitt as gardens and a bird sanctuary.”

Robert Taylor, the managing director of Renaissance, said a proposed landscaping scheme would enhance that part of Druitt Gardens ‘for the benefit of all who use this facility’. The cost of the proposed replacement landscaping scheme is £50,000.

He added: “Clearly we are happy to provide this landscaping scheme because the residents will have a better outlook and so will all the people in Christchurch who use Druitt Gardens.”

Cllr Peter Hall, ward councillor for the town centre said if it was to go ahead, the council could be accused of committing ‘wanton vandalism’.

Proposing a rejection of the plans, he said: “In 1946 Charlotte Druitt left these gardens to Dorset County Council as Christchurch could not be trusted. Please let’s show that we can be trusted now.”

Tree preservation orders were requested.

'Gardens valued'

After the decision, Peter Fenning, secretary of Christchurch Conservation Trust and Roger Street, chairman of the CCT, as well as members of Trees for Dorset, said the decision ‘is a recognition of the reality that Christchurch residents value these gardens and will robustly defend them against encroachment’.

They added: “This tree felling application was basically a manoeuvre to get around the failure by the council to clearly present the developer’s intentions when the planning application was granted permission last summer.

“There was a lack of clarity and information in that decision.”

The organisation is calling for a Friends of Druitt Gardens group to be formed.

Comments (7)

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12:09pm Tue 14 Jan 14

skydriver says...

Great news, can we have the names of the councillors who voted to have them removed then maybe we can vote to have them removed .
Great news, can we have the names of the councillors who voted to have them removed then maybe we can vote to have them removed . skydriver

12:18pm Tue 14 Jan 14

we-shall-see says...

I wouldn't be in the least surprised if those trees mysteriously get chopped down or set on fire in the next few months ….. it happens all the time when developers don;t get their own way :o/
I wouldn't be in the least surprised if those trees mysteriously get chopped down or set on fire in the next few months ….. it happens all the time when developers don;t get their own way :o/ we-shall-see

12:48pm Tue 14 Jan 14

skydriver says...

we-shall-see wrote:
I wouldn't be in the least surprised if those trees mysteriously get chopped down or set on fire in the next few months ….. it happens all the time when developers don;t get their own way :o/
If that did happen we should make sure the council replant with the same size trees even if it cost lots of our cash
[quote][p][bold]we-shall-see[/bold] wrote: I wouldn't be in the least surprised if those trees mysteriously get chopped down or set on fire in the next few months ….. it happens all the time when developers don;t get their own way :o/[/p][/quote]If that did happen we should make sure the council replant with the same size trees even if it cost lots of our cash skydriver

4:49pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Crank says...

You are right to feel cynical. Within 24 hours of the decision, our Head of Community (!) and Leisure had authorised the developer to remove 'scrubby undergrowth, brambles and the like' from the development side of the Gardens (which are woodland, not gardens - that's the point). Sorry, little hedgehogs, invertebrates, and birds - your homes and food's going.
You are right to feel cynical. Within 24 hours of the decision, our Head of Community (!) and Leisure had authorised the developer to remove 'scrubby undergrowth, brambles and the like' from the development side of the Gardens (which are woodland, not gardens - that's the point). Sorry, little hedgehogs, invertebrates, and birds - your homes and food's going. Crank

11:46pm Tue 14 Jan 14

Loyal2AFCB says...

A victory for people power over this autocratic and arrogant council.
A victory for people power over this autocratic and arrogant council. Loyal2AFCB

1:24pm Fri 17 Jan 14

Sensible Sue says...

I for one actually listened, and distinctly heard the plans to pour money into - and rejuvenate - this piece of ground, not build on it! I say piece of ground because it is not exactly a pleasant, or even entirely safe, place to walk. At the moment it's just a place for people's pets to use as a toilet. I agree that it is an essential part of the town, but it seems to me that these builders simply want to 'borrow' a small piece of it to park their kit, after which those sickly looking trees and scrub will be replaced, plus major interest. Saves blocking the High Street! Get over yourselves and start thinking compromise...
I for one actually listened, and distinctly heard the plans to pour money into - and rejuvenate - this piece of ground, not build on it! I say piece of ground because it is not exactly a pleasant, or even entirely safe, place to walk. At the moment it's just a place for people's pets to use as a toilet. I agree that it is an essential part of the town, but it seems to me that these builders simply want to 'borrow' a small piece of it to park their kit, after which those sickly looking trees and scrub will be replaced, plus major interest. Saves blocking the High Street! Get over yourselves and start thinking compromise... Sensible Sue

7:15am Mon 10 Feb 14

xchresident says...

Scientists now realise the importance of natural spaces where many species of plants and animals can interact in a stable ecosystem which is vital to human economic and physical survival. This is where trees can do their work to reduce rainwater run-off and flooding, to clean the air and trap C02, where insects which work to pollinate our crops can live, where bats which help agriculture can roost and forage. The kind of over-managed municpal park planting proposed by the developer gets the thumbs up from residents like Sensible Sue, but offers almost no value as a habitat. This is one of the few remaining bits of wild habitat in Druitt Gardens, and once gone many species never return. For people who don't appreciate the importance of natural urban spaces plastic trees might be a better option than messy nature. But people who have walked in Druitt Gardens for over 60 years now fear for its survival as a town centre woodland.
Scientists now realise the importance of natural spaces where many species of plants and animals can interact in a stable ecosystem which is vital to human economic and physical survival. This is where trees can do their work to reduce rainwater run-off and flooding, to clean the air and trap C02, where insects which work to pollinate our crops can live, where bats which help agriculture can roost and forage. The kind of over-managed municpal park planting proposed by the developer gets the thumbs up from residents like Sensible Sue, but offers almost no value as a habitat. This is one of the few remaining bits of wild habitat in Druitt Gardens, and once gone many species never return. For people who don't appreciate the importance of natural urban spaces plastic trees might be a better option than messy nature. But people who have walked in Druitt Gardens for over 60 years now fear for its survival as a town centre woodland. xchresident

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