Legal challenge over controversial tree felling at Druitt Gardens is thrown out

Bournemouth Echo: CONTROVERSY: A workman cutting down trees in Druitt Gardens CONTROVERSY: A workman cutting down trees in Druitt Gardens

A LEGAL challenge over the felled trees controversy at a Christchurch beauty spot has been rejected by the High Court.

The application for a judicial review into how the felling of the trees in Druitt Gardens was handled by Christchurch Council was made by local businessman and campaigner Alistair Somerville Ford.

Four trees were cut down in Druitt Gardens in February, just weeks after councillors voted to put preservation orders on them.

Renaissance Retirement, which has permission to build a retirement complex on the adjacent Cornfactor site, says the trees were damaged on two separate occasions during an archaeological dig.

A key meeting to discuss a report into the controversy was postponed over the legal bid. It has not yet been rescheduled.

The response from the High Court said Christchurch council had “fairly accepted that it failed to consider properly the issue in relation to the trees”. It added: “The reality is that this judicial review would serve no purpose. The damage to the trees has happened and steps are being taken to remedy, as far as possible, the damage.

“The defendant is well aware of the deficiencies in the way in which these matters have been handled and have, very fairly, acknowledged these shortcomings in the audit and scrutiny committee report.”

Dr Ford will not have to pay costs as there was an “arguable claim”. He said: “The judgment is very good news for us, despite the court’s rejection of our application to hold a judicial review.

“We now have a public record confirming the council failed in their duty of care, they are aware of the deficiencies in the way in which they handled these matters and the court accepts ours was an arguable and justifiable claim.”

Incident is ‘now historic’

David McIntosh, chief executive of the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership, said: “The judge has ruled that no purpose would be served in granting a judicial review on grounds related to the failure to consider and protect the trees when those matters are now historic.

“He understood that the council had already acknowledged our shortcomings.

“We are now working with the developer on the proposed replanting scheme for the gardens.”

Comments (7)

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7:52am Fri 16 May 14

Crank says...

There is no justice, but there is, weirdly, an acknowledgement that Christchurch Council failed both the trees and the residents. As for the replanting scheme, it should HAVE to be the species which were lost, not ornamental fruit trees as proposed. This judgement leaves a gaping hole into which many more trees might disappear. I cannot think of another council which treats its natural environment in this disgraceful way, and has so concentrated its destructive habitat removal on Druitt Gardens that its gift as a nature reserve is made a mockery of.
'Bird Sanctuary' was its purpose in being donated. How terribly sad for all the woodland creatures driven from it.
Readers be aware: another swathe of woodland and understorey habitat is set to be 'tidied up' on the boundary with Bank Close car park. Very many more trees to be added tothe 100+ already lost.
There is no justice, but there is, weirdly, an acknowledgement that Christchurch Council failed both the trees and the residents. As for the replanting scheme, it should HAVE to be the species which were lost, not ornamental fruit trees as proposed. This judgement leaves a gaping hole into which many more trees might disappear. I cannot think of another council which treats its natural environment in this disgraceful way, and has so concentrated its destructive habitat removal on Druitt Gardens that its gift as a nature reserve is made a mockery of. 'Bird Sanctuary' was its purpose in being donated. How terribly sad for all the woodland creatures driven from it. Readers be aware: another swathe of woodland and understorey habitat is set to be 'tidied up' on the boundary with Bank Close car park. Very many more trees to be added tothe 100+ already lost. Crank
  • Score: 27

8:40am Fri 16 May 14

RM says...

Residents, stand by ready to vote in the Council elections next year & vote for Cllrs who have the well-being of Christchurch & its residents at heart.
Residents, stand by ready to vote in the Council elections next year & vote for Cllrs who have the well-being of Christchurch & its residents at heart. RM
  • Score: 22

3:59pm Fri 16 May 14

Crank says...

So, when are we going to get the aborted Audit & Scrutiny Committee hearing, Mr Mac?

So glad you find value in this matter being 'historic', as in no other respect do you have any time for or value for, anything else historic in this ancient town.

Christchurch, Where Time is Trashed.
So, when are we going to get the aborted Audit & Scrutiny Committee hearing, Mr Mac? So glad you find value in this matter being 'historic', as in no other respect do you have any time for or value for, anything else historic in this ancient town. Christchurch, Where Time is Trashed. Crank
  • Score: 10

4:00pm Fri 16 May 14

xchresident says...

“We are now working with the developer on the proposed replanting scheme for the gardens.”

God help us.
“We are now working with the developer on the proposed replanting scheme for the gardens.” God help us. xchresident
  • Score: 11

4:09pm Fri 16 May 14

coster says...

Failed by the Council and Failed by the Courts. We, who pay for all, have begun to expect this from 'Authority'.
Failed by the Council and Failed by the Courts. We, who pay for all, have begun to expect this from 'Authority'. coster
  • Score: 11

4:22pm Fri 16 May 14

skydriver says...

Crank wrote:
So, when are we going to get the aborted Audit & Scrutiny Committee hearing, Mr Mac?

So glad you find value in this matter being 'historic', as in no other respect do you have any time for or value for, anything else historic in this ancient town.

Christchurch, Where Time is Trashed.
By the councillors.
[quote][p][bold]Crank[/bold] wrote: So, when are we going to get the aborted Audit & Scrutiny Committee hearing, Mr Mac? So glad you find value in this matter being 'historic', as in no other respect do you have any time for or value for, anything else historic in this ancient town. Christchurch, Where Time is Trashed.[/p][/quote]By the councillors. skydriver
  • Score: 9

6:59pm Fri 16 May 14

Wesoblind says...

See the system is bent, it hasfailed, government has failed. Its time for the people to take back this country befor its too late!
See the system is bent, it hasfailed, government has failed. Its time for the people to take back this country befor its too late! Wesoblind
  • Score: 9

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