Housing association Connexus had applied to fell five trees on Chandlers Close, off Lower Galdeford. Its view, and that of residents, was that the trees threatened properties, paths and a wall bordering the Ludlow Mascall Centre. Shropshire Council says that the two trees reported as threatening the wall are not a threat. It is the maintenance of the wall that is the issue. It accepts, it seems to me reluctantly, that the three trees near properties must be felled as they have grown to a size where they are difficult to manage on this site. It is urging Connexus to replace the trees. I agree with that.
Yesterday, Shropshire Council planners approved the details of plans for 137 houses at Foldgate Lane after nearly five years of discussions (18/02413/REM). But the development cannot go ahead without yet another application to allow construction traffic to access. The housing is due to be accessed from a T-Junction on the A49. But due to the gradients on the site, this access cannot be built other than by construction traffic thundering along Foldgate Lane. Viv Parry, the Shropshire Councillor for the area, has said this is unacceptable. I agree. The lane is totally unsuited for construction traffic and we will oppose any application to allow this.
But we want to be constructive. By moving the T-Junction a short way south, the problem with gradients is resolved. Our scheme would also save much of the tree belt, where more than 100 trees are currently slated for felling. In our proposal, the T-Junction would be left turn only on leaving the site, reducing the risk of accidents on a high speed section of the A49.
We have been discussing the loss of trees in Ludlow a lot of late. Only yesterday, someone came up to me and said: “You can see it walking along the Breadwalk. Looking back to the town, there is much less tree cover than ten years ago.” I have no doubt that we are losing tree cover in the conservation areas in Ludlow. We are also losing a lot elsewhere in Ludlow too.
Some new trees have been grown but a study of tree felling in Ludlow’s conservation areas over the last five years shows that applicants planned to replant only one fifth of the 218 trees they wished to fell. At the same time foliage was reduced on more than 300 trees.
There are very good reasons for felling and managing trees. What we lack in Ludlow and across Shropshire is any system for ensuring that we get a net increase in tree cover and biodiversity.
The numbers are shocking and I am sure they will be challenged by the developer. A calculation by Shropshire Council’s tree team suggests that around 644 trees will have been lost during the lengthy seven year saga to develop the site at the rear of Linney House on the banks of the Corve, if the current development of eight homes is given the green light to go ahead. This is a high end estimate. It more likely that only a third of that number will be lost without replanting.
The council’s tree team notes that only an indicative landscape plan for planting replacement trees has been submitted with the latest application. It now up to the developer to flesh out the details of compensatory planting. Even then, I doubt that the full number of trees can be replaced. Not for the first time recently, this raises the question about how developers can be obliged to compensate for loss of biodiversity.
This article is triggered by an application from housing provider Connexus to fell five trees in the heart of Ludlow. It is written amid growing concern about the loss of trees within and around the town without replacement. It is widely accepted that we are in a climate emergency. Trees have a vital role to pay in our fight against global warming.
The latest application is to fell five semi-mature trees in a small social housing community on Chandler’s Close near the Ludlow Mascall Centre. These trees do not pose an immediate danger. But they are growing too large. Their roots are already lifting the pavements and could damage the foundations of the bungalows. Two trees also threaten an old stone wall, which is now being supported by rubble bags after a partial collapse.
Having spoken to residents and looked at the damage the trees have caused and will potentially cause, I am convinced there is no alternative to felling four of them. But there is no space to replace the trees on Chandlers Close. That is why we need to encourage everyone who fells a tree to find a way of planting at least one tree to replace it. Two would be better. If there is no space in the same street or garden, replacement trees should be planted elsewhere.