Pine tree felled in Old Burghclere despite tree preservation order
A tree has been felled in Old Burghclere despite a tree preservation order (TPO) being placed on it earlier this year.
A pine tree – believed to be a Scots pine – that was at the front of the property at 6 Weir Vale Cottages was felled on Tuesday, September 26.
However, a TPO (reference TPO/BDB/0699) was confirmed for the tree on May 15.
It is a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage, or destroy a protected tree, and the maximum fine in a magistrates’ court is £20,000 for each offence and in a crown court the fine is unlimited.
In response to the incident, a Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council spokesperson said: “We are aware that a single pine tree at the front of 6 Weir Cottages has been felled and we are investigating potential enforcement action in relation to this matter.”
One Old Burghclere resident who wished to remain anonymous was “hugely frustrated” by the loss of the tree.
They said: “When a TPO gets granted, it’s for good reason. They don’t get put on lightly.
“I think the frustration is that if nothing happens and there are no consequences then people will just go round doing what they want.”
A planning application to build a three-bedroom dwelling on the property was submitted in December 2022 and has yet to be decided by the borough council.
Within the application’s tree protection plan, which was revised and re-submitted in March, the pine tree is acknowledged and marked as a tree to be retained.
This fact is picked up on in the tree officer’s report, which states: “The Scots pine at the front of the site (ie facing Sydmonton Rd) is protected by TPO/BDB/0699 and appears to have been appropriately identified and considered in the arboricultural report.”
It is not known whether the felling of the protected pine has anything to do with the outstanding planning application.
North West Hampshire MP Kit Malthouse was also alerted to the demise of the protected tree by his constituents.
He said: “I am aware of the serious matter of a tree being felled in Old Burghclere, despite it being placed under a permanent tree preservation order.
“I have taken this up with Basingstoke and Deane Council at the highest level, and they have assured me they are looking into it as a matter of urgency.
“I have passed this particular tree many times on my travels over the years, and I can appreciate how important it is to local people that we do all we can to preserve and protect our precious environment.”