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Burghclere villagers pledge to battle fresh threat to protected trees

Third likely petition opposing proposals

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Contact:

01635 886637

Burghclere villagers petition to oppose tree felling application

BURGHCLERE villagers say they will raise a third petition opposing fresh proposals to cut down protected trees, which they fear could lead to village infill development.

Villagers presented a 67-signature petition to Burghclere Parish Council in July, opposing a planning application submitted by Colin Fletcher, of Newbury, to cut down eight trees at a strip of land next to The Hythe, Newtown Road.

That application was subsequently withdrawn, while a further application, to construct a detached bungalow and garage on the site, at Heathwood, Heatherwold, plus alterations to existing vehicle access, has since been refused.

This was after villagers had handed in a second, 70-signature, petition opposing the proposals, affecting a site outside the village settlement policy boundary.

Now Mr Fletcher has submitted further proposals to fell five trees at the rear of The Hythe, Heatherwold, including three oak trees, one of which is listed as “deadwood”, and fell a Scots pine tree.

The proposals include felling a further deadwood tree, along with trimming branches (up to 5m) growing into the plot to 3m from the trunk.

The parish council has confirmed that the trees are covered by a temporary tree preservation order issued in June and valid for six months.

Mr Fletcher has also said he plans to appeal the refusal of permissions to build the bungalow. This was after 16 objections had been lodged, including five not made by local people.

He said: “I got a local street map and marked them up using the postcodes – five weren’t even on the map.

“When people object, you expect it to be about something in their view.”

Mr Fletcher said that a fourth bungalow would be placed in line with the existing three bungalows, and the new property would have a new tarmac driveway, to link up with existing access to the road.

He added that he was willing to plant a row of conifers to prevent neighbours seeing any vehicles passing along the driveway.

It had not been decided whether to try and connect the property to mains drainage, or alternatively to sink a septic tank in the back garden.

Neighbour Andy Stanton who presented the last petition  to the parish council, said that villagers would carry on the fight, including raising a third petition.

“We will do everything we can to stop it,” said Mr Stanton.

Disputing claims that several people who signed the petition had not been local, Mr Stanton said: “They were all local and from the area surrounding the trees and within Newtown Common.

“We wouldn’t ask anyone outside to object, no one, for example, from Newbury or Burghclere.”

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