Fears for trees as land goes up for sale

October 23 2020

Jane Lenton, Carol Gould and Karen Davies under the sycamore trees

Jane Lenton, Carol Gould and Karen Davies under the sycamore trees

NEIGHBOURS of a row of trees alongside one of Downend's busiest roads fear they could be under threat.
A dozen or so sycamores on land off Cleeve Lodge Close tower over Westerleigh Road, between the Peache Road double mini-roundabout and King George V playing fields. The site, next to the Deanna Court flats, also contains 10 lock-up garages, which are rented privately.
It is due to be sold on November 3 at auction by agents Maggs and Allen, with a guide price of £100,000. The agents describe the sale as a "fantastic opportunity" to buy a site in a "popular residential location".
They say the garages are let for a total of £7,272 in rent, "with potential to increase" to £9,000 per year, adding: "The land and garages may also offer potential for redevelopment, subject to obtaining the necessary consents."
The agents conclude by describing the site as "an excellent opportunity for investors and developers".
Neighbours are concerned that any attempt to develop the land could harm the trees.
South Gloucestershire Council has confirmed the sycamores are subject to a group tree preservation order, which has been in place since 1989.
The order protects trees from unauthorised cutting, lopping, uprooting or "wilful" damage and destruction – but councils can give consent for changes as part of the planning process.
Carol Gould, who lives nearby, said: "These trees are part of Downend. They are lovely and green and they must take away some of the pollution from the road. They are a breath of fresh air, creating oxygen. They are also a wildlife corridor – you can see squirrels in them all the time. People need to look out for them, in case a developer tries to surreptitiously remove them."
No planning application had been received for the site as the Voice went to print.
• Trees alongside a dry stone wall at the bottom of the Co-op car park have been felled due to health and safety fears.
Adam Martin, from property management company LCP which owns the car park, said: “The trees had to be removed due to the increasing health and safety risk they were posing. Unfortunately the roots were disturbing a dry stone wall which separated a boundary between the car park and the neighbouring allotments.
“Staple Hill and District Allotments brought this to our attention along with genuine concerns for people's wellbeing in and around the falling wall and in particular the level change between the two boundaries. Following consultation with a reputable tree surgeon it was felt the only course of action, in light of our neighbour’s concerns, was to fell the trees.”