A POSTPONED meeting on the controversial Druitt Gardens tree felling has not yet been rescheduled.
Christchurch council postponed the meeting of the audit and scrutiny committee, due to take place in March, after campaigners launched a legal challenge against the authority.
A judicial review was sought by local businessman and campaigner Alistair Somerville-Ford after four trees were cut down in Druitt Gardens in February, just weeks after councillors voted to put preservation orders on them.
Renaissance Retirement, who have planning permission to build a retirement complex on the adjacent Cornfactor site, say the trees were damaged on two separate occasions during an archaeological dig.
A full, internal, inquiry was ordered by Christchurch council following stinging criticism from residents, campaigners and Dorset County Council’s own tree officer.
But the findings of the damning report have not yet been heard in public, despite the application for the judicial review being thrown out of the High Court.
The audit and scrutiny report details a catalogue of errors made by Christchurch council during contentious tree felling episodes.
Mistakes over previous planning permissions, flaws in last year’s consent, gaps in training and time pressures all contributed to the fiasco and have led to calls for urgent improvements.
The report focuses on a ‘genuine mistaken belief’ in which officers incorrectly thought there was permission from 2007 in place to fell trees in Druitt Gardens, next to the Cornfactor site.
An action plan devised by officers in response to the report includes calls to recruit more temporary or agency staff, develop a training programme for members, review committee procedure, improve report writing, presentation skills and customer care and have more contact with planning committee chairman over controversial applications.
A council spokesperson said: “The council are considering the impact of the judgement on the judicial review and assessing what action should be taken including how to deal with the audit and scrutiny committee report.”