“No cover up” – Angry residents pack meeting over controversial tree felling

Tree felling questions still left unanswered

Residents gather outside Christchurch Council Civic Offices to protest about felled trees

Workers on the Renaissance Retirement Ltd site

First published in News by

QUESTIONS around controversial tree felling in Druitt Gardens have been left unresolved after a key meeting. The matter will now be dealt with at a meeting later this year.

Councillors at Christ-church’s scrutiny committee felt there were omissions in a controversial report on the trees at a meeting on Tuesday.

Angry residents packed out the public gallery, protesting outside the civic offices beforehand, calling for ‘No cover up’.

Members were told it was “crucial” that changes were made to the planning department following the mistakes committed by the council over the handling of the Cornfactor site application.

But they “noted with concern” missing information and unanswered questions, and, as proposed by Cllr David Jones, called for a meeting dedicated solely to the issue, in October.

They also called for a report on the ‘robust’ policy to protect trees and sensitive buildings as a result of the blunder which took place earlier this year.

Strategic director David Barnes told the meeting it was clear mistakes were made in the Cornfactor site over a long period of time.

Details were given of processes introduced to try and prevent the problems from happening again, which included more analysis of historical records relating to proposals, creating training programmes for members and officers and copying practices from other councils.

The council is also in the process of recruiting a new lawyer to the legal team to deal solely with planning matters.

Details of workload for officers and system failures were given by the head of growth and economy, James Hassett, who said they were trying to reduce officers’ case load ‘so they have time to make sure they are making the right decisions’.

Cllr Lesley Dedman said: “It almost looks as though these actions should have been happening already.”

Cllr Peter Hall said questions submitted by councillors and members of the public still hadn’t been answered and backed another meeting.

Cllr Jones added: “It has been a difficult meeting and a lot more concerns have arisen.”

Comments (14)

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2:45pm Thu 7 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

It's worth looking at Mr Nottage's blog. What worries me is that in his report none of the most recent failures are mentioned, it seems to be trying to be buried under 2007 history. For example, the fact that the developer damaged two trees one day (despite TPOs on them) and then two more shortly later. Even worse is that, despite it being the developer's fault, money was authorised from Christchurch Borough Council to pay for the removal of these trees (H&S) after the root damage. This has cost the taxpayers considerably over £1000. The meeting was disgraceful, a load of waffle listened to by an increasingly angry public (after being told we might be evicted). It's our money they're spending, and they actually represent us.
It's worth looking at Mr Nottage's blog. What worries me is that in his report none of the most recent failures are mentioned, it seems to be trying to be buried under 2007 history. For example, the fact that the developer damaged two trees one day (despite TPOs on them) and then two more shortly later. Even worse is that, despite it being the developer's fault, money was authorised from Christchurch Borough Council to pay for the removal of these trees (H&S) after the root damage. This has cost the taxpayers considerably over £1000. The meeting was disgraceful, a load of waffle listened to by an increasingly angry public (after being told we might be evicted). It's our money they're spending, and they actually represent us. agp1337
  • Score: 16

4:43pm Thu 7 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

The Chuckle Brothers come to mind.......

To me...To you.....
The Chuckle Brothers come to mind....... To me...To you..... BIGTONE
  • Score: 3

5:13pm Thu 7 Aug 14

skydriver says...

agp1337 wrote:
It's worth looking at Mr Nottage's blog. What worries me is that in his report none of the most recent failures are mentioned, it seems to be trying to be buried under 2007 history. For example, the fact that the developer damaged two trees one day (despite TPOs on them) and then two more shortly later. Even worse is that, despite it being the developer's fault, money was authorised from Christchurch Borough Council to pay for the removal of these trees (H&S) after the root damage. This has cost the taxpayers considerably over £1000. The meeting was disgraceful, a load of waffle listened to by an increasingly angry public (after being told we might be evicted). It's our money they're spending, and they actually represent us.
Well what do you expect from two votes Nottage.
I just wish he would go before he damages Christchurch anymore .
The man is a liability , well as his role of councillor anyway .
[quote][p][bold]agp1337[/bold] wrote: It's worth looking at Mr Nottage's blog. What worries me is that in his report none of the most recent failures are mentioned, it seems to be trying to be buried under 2007 history. For example, the fact that the developer damaged two trees one day (despite TPOs on them) and then two more shortly later. Even worse is that, despite it being the developer's fault, money was authorised from Christchurch Borough Council to pay for the removal of these trees (H&S) after the root damage. This has cost the taxpayers considerably over £1000. The meeting was disgraceful, a load of waffle listened to by an increasingly angry public (after being told we might be evicted). It's our money they're spending, and they actually represent us.[/p][/quote]Well what do you expect from two votes Nottage. I just wish he would go before he damages Christchurch anymore . The man is a liability , well as his role of councillor anyway . skydriver
  • Score: 14

5:23pm Thu 7 Aug 14

twynhamob says...

The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.
The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of. twynhamob
  • Score: -2

5:27pm Thu 7 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

twynhamob wrote:
The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.
You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely?
[quote][p][bold]twynhamob[/bold] wrote: The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.[/p][/quote]You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely? agp1337
  • Score: 10

6:52pm Thu 7 Aug 14

twynhamob says...

agp1337 wrote:
twynhamob wrote:
The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.
You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely?
I agree with you in as much as I said that in the future procedures/policy should be adhered to. The only way to get the perpetrators is to VOTE differently next time around. These councilors only put in the minimum they can get away with in regards to attending meetings. Because the complainers want their pound of flesh more important/immediate matters surely are being overlooked. These complainers will only be satisfied if we bring back the stocks, insert the entire council and hit them with rotten veggies.
[quote][p][bold]agp1337[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]twynhamob[/bold] wrote: The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.[/p][/quote]You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely?[/p][/quote]I agree with you in as much as I said that in the future procedures/policy should be adhered to. The only way to get the perpetrators is to VOTE differently next time around. These councilors only put in the minimum they can get away with in regards to attending meetings. Because the complainers want their pound of flesh more important/immediate matters surely are being overlooked. These complainers will only be satisfied if we bring back the stocks, insert the entire council and hit them with rotten veggies. twynhamob
  • Score: 0

9:27pm Thu 7 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

Don't bother looking at the blog. He is now removing anything which criticises him. The whole thing is pointless, and my medium of communication will now be The Echo, which does at least allow free speech!
Don't bother looking at the blog. He is now removing anything which criticises him. The whole thing is pointless, and my medium of communication will now be The Echo, which does at least allow free speech! agp1337
  • Score: 5

11:06pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Loyal2AFCB says...

The whiff of corruption permeates this whole sorry episode.
The whiff of corruption permeates this whole sorry episode. Loyal2AFCB
  • Score: 5

7:18am Fri 8 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

twynhamob wrote:
agp1337 wrote:
twynhamob wrote:
The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.
You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely?
I agree with you in as much as I said that in the future procedures/policy should be adhered to. The only way to get the perpetrators is to VOTE differently next time around. These councilors only put in the minimum they can get away with in regards to attending meetings. Because the complainers want their pound of flesh more important/immediate matters surely are being overlooked. These complainers will only be satisfied if we bring back the stocks, insert the entire council and hit them with rotten veggies.
I must say, I was in the back row near to some of these activists. Two of them, I think man and and wife (one proudly held up a UKIP badge for the cameras) spent almost the whole meeting talking and grumbling to each other. They actually listened to very little. Another, next to me, used the printed agenda as a noisy fan so he, too, wouldn't have heard anything. I had to lean forward and strain to hear. Notes were being passed along asking people to meet outside for a photo afterwards, no attention to what was being said. This could have been organised before the meeting started, there was time. I know the Council has behaved ineffectually, but surely the purpose of attending a meeting is to listen to what is being said. I joined them for the first photo, but escaped very quickly before the one afterwards!
[quote][p][bold]twynhamob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]agp1337[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]twynhamob[/bold] wrote: The trees are gone and will not come back. Ensure that in future the correct procedures/policy are adhered to. Placing the BLAME is not going to make anyone feel better.... Is it? Sounds like some people just like to complain... But any remarks about (S)notty are welcome and he should be gotten rid of.[/p][/quote]You have a point. The thing is that the procedures weren't adhered to, and considerable damage was done. It can't bring back the trees, but does that mean that because the deed is already done the perpetrators should get away with it and continue to rule us? The questions MUST be asked, surely?[/p][/quote]I agree with you in as much as I said that in the future procedures/policy should be adhered to. The only way to get the perpetrators is to VOTE differently next time around. These councilors only put in the minimum they can get away with in regards to attending meetings. Because the complainers want their pound of flesh more important/immediate matters surely are being overlooked. These complainers will only be satisfied if we bring back the stocks, insert the entire council and hit them with rotten veggies.[/p][/quote]I must say, I was in the back row near to some of these activists. Two of them, I think man and and wife (one proudly held up a UKIP badge for the cameras) spent almost the whole meeting talking and grumbling to each other. They actually listened to very little. Another, next to me, used the printed agenda as a noisy fan so he, too, wouldn't have heard anything. I had to lean forward and strain to hear. Notes were being passed along asking people to meet outside for a photo afterwards, no attention to what was being said. This could have been organised before the meeting started, there was time. I know the Council has behaved ineffectually, but surely the purpose of attending a meeting is to listen to what is being said. I joined them for the first photo, but escaped very quickly before the one afterwards! agp1337
  • Score: 3

7:42am Fri 8 Aug 14

skydriver says...

agp1337 wrote:
Don't bother looking at the blog. He is now removing anything which criticises him. The whole thing is pointless, and my medium of communication will now be The Echo, which does at least allow free speech!
As I have said before it's time for him to be removed as the leader.
NOW,
[quote][p][bold]agp1337[/bold] wrote: Don't bother looking at the blog. He is now removing anything which criticises him. The whole thing is pointless, and my medium of communication will now be The Echo, which does at least allow free speech![/p][/quote]As I have said before it's time for him to be removed as the leader. NOW, skydriver
  • Score: 3

7:46am Fri 8 Aug 14

skydriver says...

I have been keeping an eye on this subject, and I now think with so many controversial comments on this matter , and the council leader I feel it's time for him to do the right thing and stand down as a leader and a councillor, due to his poor standards of leadership, on this and other matters, not to mention his ethics, TWO VOTES, .enough said.
I have been keeping an eye on this subject, and I now think with so many controversial comments on this matter , and the council leader I feel it's time for him to do the right thing and stand down as a leader and a councillor, due to his poor standards of leadership, on this and other matters, not to mention his ethics, TWO VOTES, .enough said. skydriver
  • Score: 4

5:32pm Fri 8 Aug 14

xchresident says...

yes agp1337, people are there to listen, but maybe frustration takes over. The Council's sound system is still so dodgy and that makes it hard for people to hear.
yes agp1337, people are there to listen, but maybe frustration takes over. The Council's sound system is still so dodgy and that makes it hard for people to hear. xchresident
  • Score: 3

7:16pm Fri 8 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

xchresident wrote:
yes agp1337, people are there to listen, but maybe frustration takes over. The Council's sound system is still so dodgy and that makes it hard for people to hear.
Fair point. I had to strain.
[quote][p][bold]xchresident[/bold] wrote: yes agp1337, people are there to listen, but maybe frustration takes over. The Council's sound system is still so dodgy and that makes it hard for people to hear.[/p][/quote]Fair point. I had to strain. agp1337
  • Score: 1

9:56am Sat 9 Aug 14

xchresident says...

This all goes beyond trees to what goes on behind the scenes, without knowledge or mandate from voters. And unfortunately whatever party gets in at the next elections will need to be watched equally carefully.

The Council's own report cited 'omissions, flaws, and mistaken assumptions' and clearly the recent actions or in-actions of Council Officers and Councillors-- on Leader Ray Nottage's watch--either inadvertently or deliberately, allowed this whole planning fiasco to occur. It is gross over-development and trees in Druitt Gardens were blatently sacrificed. The development is advertised as 'Druitt's Park ' (google it)-- flat sales will gross something well over 6 million and the advert which pre-dates the felling shows trees already gone. Fines would simply be a gnat-bite.

There might be some Christchurch residents who are delighted by the result. Others are disgusted.

Unfortunately the contractor and his workers are there on the ground and presumably carrying out instructions from Renaissance Retirement.

8 foot hoardings closing off the footpath have screened all from view so the part of Druitt Gardens behind them is hidden from public sight--allowing branches to be lopped off protected trees. Sure, they're only doing their job but its not always popular.

Once again people on the ground are taking the rap for those at the top
This all goes beyond trees to what goes on behind the scenes, without knowledge or mandate from voters. And unfortunately whatever party gets in at the next elections will need to be watched equally carefully. The Council's own report cited 'omissions, flaws, and mistaken assumptions' and clearly the recent actions or in-actions of Council Officers and Councillors-- on Leader Ray Nottage's watch--either inadvertently or deliberately, allowed this whole planning fiasco to occur. It is gross over-development and trees in Druitt Gardens were blatently sacrificed. The development is advertised as 'Druitt's Park ' (google it)-- flat sales will gross something well over 6 million and the advert which pre-dates the felling shows trees already gone. Fines would simply be a gnat-bite. There might be some Christchurch residents who are delighted by the result. Others are disgusted. Unfortunately the contractor and his workers are there on the ground and presumably carrying out instructions from Renaissance Retirement. 8 foot hoardings closing off the footpath have screened all from view so the part of Druitt Gardens behind them is hidden from public sight--allowing branches to be lopped off protected trees. Sure, they're only doing their job but its not always popular. Once again people on the ground are taking the rap for those at the top xchresident
  • Score: 2

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