Council blunders over controversially felled trees to be highlighted

Council blunders over controversially felled trees to be highlighted

Council blunders over controversially felled trees to be highlighted

First published in News
Last updated
by

COUNCIL failures over controversially felled trees will be highlighted at an important meeting on Tuesday.

And plans to overhaul current procedures at Christchurch council will be detailed by officers in a bid to ensure a similar blunder does not happen again.

The scrutiny committee meet at Christchurch council on Tuesday at 6pm to discuss the issues surrounding the felled trees in Druitt Gardens.

The meeting was postponed earlier this year due to an application for a judicial review into the incident where four trees were cut down at the Christchurch beauty spot.

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

The developers, Renaissance Retirement, who were granted permission to build a retirement complex on the adjacent Cornfactor site last year, say the trees were damaged on two separate occasions during an archaeological dig.

Before the March meeting was postponed, the council admitted 'a number of errors' were committed over the felling saga.

The initial report said mistakes were made over previous planning permissions, flaws in last year's consent, gaps in members training and time pressures.

According to the March report, officers incorrectly thought there was permission from 2007 in place to fell the trees.

And under the incorrect assumption, officers believed TPOs could not be enforced. However, when the council sought independent legal opinion earlier this year, it was revealed no permission ever existed to fell the trees and the member-approved TPOs were put on the trees.

But due to ongoing talks between Renaissance and the council, independent counsel warned the authority that the developer had the legal right to carry out 'all necessary works' to get their building underway.

Now the judicial review is not proceeding after the council admitted their shortcomings, the new meeting will focus on improvements to the planning service, which include ensuring staff check historical records, creating training programmes for members and officers and copying practices from other councils.

The report adds: “The improvements will take time to deliver changes to working practices at both an officer and member level but are essential if the council is to have in place a modern and professional planning service which compares favourably with the best up and down the country.”

Comments (14)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:30am Mon 4 Aug 14

Loonyspoon says...

Council failures...I hope they packed some sandwiches, that is going to be a long meeting.
Council failures...I hope they packed some sandwiches, that is going to be a long meeting. Loonyspoon
  • Score: 20

11:55am Mon 4 Aug 14

muscliffman says...

If as indicated above Council 'failures' and 'blunders' are going to be admitted over this protected trees fiasco then maybe the public can also be told which Officers (Titles, not names) will be held to fully account for their incompetence. Anything less would be rather suggestive of an ongoing internal cover up.
If as indicated above Council 'failures' and 'blunders' are going to be admitted over this protected trees fiasco then maybe the public can also be told which Officers (Titles, not names) will be held to fully account for their incompetence. Anything less would be rather suggestive of an ongoing internal cover up. muscliffman
  • Score: 20

1:34pm Mon 4 Aug 14

skydriver says...

Now this another reason to get rid of some councillors , not fit for purpose comes to mind,
Now this another reason to get rid of some councillors , not fit for purpose comes to mind, skydriver
  • Score: 10

3:20pm Mon 4 Aug 14

RM says...

Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster.
Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster. RM
  • Score: 12

5:49pm Mon 4 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

Look at Our Leader's blog. When I suggested that the timing was a bit weird, bearing in mind that the other Councillors might well be on holiday and unable to attend, and the meeting wasn't even announced until 19 July, two and a half weeks' notice before the meeting, this was his reply: "Sorry but you live in cocoon of conspiracy. Your premies is quite ridiculous." Not secret, the diatribe is on his public blog!!! I had one reply: 'Welcome to the murky world of Christchurch politics.' It's just a disgrace and some of them can't even see that it's wrong. I'll be at the LONG (I hope) meeting tomorrow. All this jiggery-pokery needs to stop.
Look at Our Leader's blog. When I suggested that the timing was a bit weird, bearing in mind that the other Councillors might well be on holiday and unable to attend, and the meeting wasn't even announced until 19 July, two and a half weeks' notice before the meeting, this was his reply: "Sorry but you live in cocoon of conspiracy. Your premies [sic] is quite ridiculous." Not secret, the diatribe is on his public blog!!! I had one reply: 'Welcome to the murky world of Christchurch politics.' It's just a disgrace and some of them can't even see that it's wrong. I'll be at the LONG (I hope) meeting tomorrow. All this jiggery-pokery needs to stop. agp1337
  • Score: 10

7:01pm Mon 4 Aug 14

BIGTONE says...

Memo to Council meeting.

Don't cut down trees with preservation orders on them then you won't get into trouble.
Memo to Council meeting. Don't cut down trees with preservation orders on them then you won't get into trouble. BIGTONE
  • Score: 7

7:10pm Mon 4 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

RM wrote:
Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster.
Completely correct. Bluster is the word. The tragedy is that they can't see it: they just continue to protest innocence and shout and bluster more. Shakespeare comes to mind: '... one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.' Not saying that they are as bad as that, but surely something is 'rotten in the state of Christchurch.' OK, another modified from Hamlet, but you get the meaning! It does need sorting, and that ASAP. Some Councillors do really well and support Christchurch and their constituents. The serious clique has got to stop, though!
[quote][p][bold]RM[/bold] wrote: Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster.[/p][/quote]Completely correct. Bluster is the word. The tragedy is that they can't see it: they just continue to protest innocence and shout and bluster more. Shakespeare comes to mind: '... one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.' Not saying that they are as bad as that, but surely something is 'rotten in the state of Christchurch.' OK, another modified from Hamlet, but you get the meaning! It does need sorting, and that ASAP. Some Councillors do really well and support Christchurch and their constituents. The serious clique has got to stop, though! agp1337
  • Score: 6

8:57pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Mike R-B says...

Surely the fellers should assume all trees are under TPO until written proof is furnished.
Surely the fellers should assume all trees are under TPO until written proof is furnished. Mike R-B
  • Score: 5

9:24pm Mon 4 Aug 14

xchresident says...

The article says 'Now the judicial review is not proceeding after the council admitted their shortcomings, the new meeting will focus on improvements to the planning service...'

and conveniently forget the purpose of the meeting--SCRUTINY.

A short new report was written for this meeting, which does not discuss the 22 page Report written for the postponed meeting. Now 'Investigation into Cornfactor Development Planning Issues' and the questions submitted about that report are being swept under the carpet.

Once again, the terms of the debate are being set by officers. Under direction from whom? And which councillors will have the courage to rebel?
The article says 'Now the judicial review is not proceeding after the council admitted their shortcomings, the new meeting will focus on improvements to the planning service...' and conveniently forget the purpose of the meeting--SCRUTINY. A short new report was written for this meeting, which does not discuss the 22 page Report written for the postponed meeting. Now 'Investigation into Cornfactor Development Planning Issues' and the questions submitted about that report are being swept under the carpet. Once again, the terms of the debate are being set by officers. Under direction from whom? And which councillors will have the courage to rebel? xchresident
  • Score: 7

10:47pm Mon 4 Aug 14

Yankee1 says...

Will this meeting discuss 'brown envelopes'????
Will this meeting discuss 'brown envelopes'???? Yankee1
  • Score: 5

10:55pm Mon 4 Aug 14

SurfReefFunTime says...

I can understand getting frustrated when you have nothing else in your life to worry about. It's time x church residents got rid of some of these muppet cllrs. Honestly though this tree saga has been going on forso long.... i like your commitment but geta life nobody gives a toss.
I can understand getting frustrated when you have nothing else in your life to worry about. It's time x church residents got rid of some of these muppet cllrs. Honestly though this tree saga has been going on forso long.... i like your commitment but geta life nobody gives a toss. SurfReefFunTime
  • Score: -9

12:42pm Tue 5 Aug 14

agp1337 says...

SurfReefFunTime wrote:
I can understand getting frustrated when you have nothing else in your life to worry about. It's time x church residents got rid of some of these muppet cllrs. Honestly though this tree saga has been going on forso long.... i like your commitment but geta life nobody gives a toss.
Actually, quite a number of people 'give a toss.' It's surely a reflection of the performance of some Councillors , as you say in your second sentence. Sorry you're bored!
[quote][p][bold]SurfReefFunTime[/bold] wrote: I can understand getting frustrated when you have nothing else in your life to worry about. It's time x church residents got rid of some of these muppet cllrs. Honestly though this tree saga has been going on forso long.... i like your commitment but geta life nobody gives a toss.[/p][/quote]Actually, quite a number of people 'give a toss.' It's surely a reflection of the performance of some Councillors , as you say in your second sentence. Sorry you're bored! agp1337
  • Score: 6

1:37pm Tue 5 Aug 14

skydriver says...

RM wrote:
Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster.
What does one expect from a leader who has two votes, to keep himself in place.
Maybe when the election comes around, maybe we should all have two votes, if we wish..........now that would be illegal !!??!!
[quote][p][bold]RM[/bold] wrote: Of the three local Councils I do think X'church seems to be the most incompetent & inept - they can't even cover things up & make things worse for themselves by being caught out publicly & still continuing to bluster.[/p][/quote]What does one expect from a leader who has two votes, to keep himself in place. Maybe when the election comes around, maybe we should all have two votes, if we wish..........now that would be illegal !!??!! skydriver
  • Score: 8

4:47pm Wed 6 Aug 14

skydriver says...

Loonyspoon wrote:
Council failures...I hope they packed some sandwiches, that is going to be a long meeting.
I doubt it, they will claim a meal expense from our taxes, most likely!!
[quote][p][bold]Loonyspoon[/bold] wrote: Council failures...I hope they packed some sandwiches, that is going to be a long meeting.[/p][/quote]I doubt it, they will claim a meal expense from our taxes, most likely!! skydriver
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree