It seems from what I have discovered, if you want to chop back trees in a conservation area, then call it a hedge.

Between two hotels in Grove Road, East Cliff, Bournemouth there is a row of mature trees that have been there for many, many years.

The other day I noticed that they were being cut back, with large branches being cut from them.

Of course, I called the BCP Council as I had done previous times, as the whole area is a conservation area and all the trees are protected by TPO’s.

Having heard nothing for quite a few days, I contacted BCP Council and was told: I have carried out an inspection this afternoon and found that they are semi mature Western Red Cedars that form a boundary hedge. Hedges are not protected under the Tree Preservation Order or the Conservation Area therefore no consent was required and we cannot take any action.

I then looked up this apparent anomaly and found from a government website that: If the hedge forms part of a garden and has been clearly managed as a hedge, it is not protected. However if it has been left unmanaged for many years and has grown into a line or row of trees they will be protected.

I wrote back to the council saying I was not happy about this and sent him a number of photos from Google Maps over the past ten plus years, showing that the trees had been growing taller and taller quite happily, with no obvious topping out etc to form a so-called hedge, and were also clearly unmanaged, so clearly could not be a hedge.

BCP Council wrote back saying: I am sorry to hear that you disagree with my assessment. I have undertaken this assessment with full knowledge of all legislation and using my significant experience of undertaking these assessments and on this occasion we are not able to take any action for the pruning that has taken place to these Coniferous boundary plantings.

So, a line of large mature trees in a tree protected conservation area, no matter what their height or how long they have been there, or how they have been managed, if they look like a hedge it seems they can be classified as a hedge, according to BCP Council.

To me this is totally wrong, and a recipe for people to just cut down what trees they want in this area - if it looks like a hedge, then just tell BCP Council it is a hedge.

We have a line of sycamore trees at the back of our property - Is it a hedge BCP?.

It would save us a lot of money applying for planning each time to cut off a few branches, as we have to presently do.

Jane Cooke Grove Road, Bournemouth