Watching council meetings is always interesting. You hear and see so many things that can’t all be included in a news report.
Earlier today I sat in the public gallery in the civic centre and published this story about a planning application for a canopy at a car wash in Cwmbran. The one thing that was hard to get across in the report was how councillors were being asked to make a decision on the canopy alone and it wasn’t about enforcement action- although this clearly came over in the debate and in report.
Planning decisions are made against the backdrop of layers of planning policy at a local, regional and national level. An applicant can appeal if they feel their application followed all relevant policies but was still refused. If the appeal is successful it can cost the council a lot of money.
Anyway back to the point of this post. On the same agenda was an item for permission to cut down two trees and carry out work to 20 others in Ponthir.
I didn’t think I would do anything with this story but something that was asked in the debate before the decision caught my attention.
The application was to: “Remove deadwood and crossing rubbing branches, remove epicormic and basal growth to height of 2m from 20 trees and fell 2 alders” in the Oaklands, Ponthir.
The two alders are showing ‘signs of dieback’ so officers felt they should be felled to avoid risk to walkers and nearby homeowners.’ The other work will ‘contribute positively to the amenity of the area’ and the tidying up the appearance of this group of trees.’
Cllr Stuart Ashley, Pontnewydd Ward, asked officers about replacement trees for the ones being cut down. He said: “I think we had a policy to plant two trees for every one felled.”
Helen Smith, the council’s team leader for applications, said it wasn’t a specific requirement included in this application but confirmed that the council’s tree officer would be told. I never knew the council had a ‘two for one’ policy and it’s always good to learn something new.
Cllr Aflie Best, Pontnewynydd and Snatchwood Ward, pointed out that if consent was given the only time constraint was that it had to be done ‘within two years’. He wanted to make sure that the felling of the two trees would “take place outside of nesting season.”
Ms Smtih told him that the council work within the rules of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
The application was approved unanimously.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska: https://www.pexels.com/photo/modern-gas-chainsaw-on-ground-near-log-4205984/