News Bulletin - 4th April 2012

Welcome to all those who have recently signed up for the ASHRA Newsletter.

The main news concerns the Tree Preservation Order, but first is a brief status report.

Status Report

Potential planning application for 450 houses by Bewley Homes on the fields bordered by Ash Lodge Drive, Manor Road, The old railway track and South Lane - Awaiting formal planning application.

Potential planning application for 65 houses by Taylor Wimpey on land that lies behind existing homes on Manor Road - Awaiting formal planning application.

Planning Application Number: 2/P/00157 for the conversion of The Croft in Foreman Road into 7 apartments and the building of 31 houses - Consultation period has ended and the application will be considered by the Guildford Borough Council Planning Committee at an as yet undetermined date.

Tree Preservation Order

As you may be aware, at this week’s Guildford Borough Council Planning Committee, Tree Preservation Order (TPO) No.10 of 2011 was on the agenda.

The TPO covers 28 hectares between Ash and Tongham in three separate areas. These are identified on the following maps (click to view); A1, A2 and A3.

A report from the Guildford Borough Council Head of Planning Services recommended that the TPO be confirmed by the Planning Committee. The full report can be read here. As you will see there were written detailed objections from A2 Dominion and Bewley Homes Tree Consultant and it was therefore felt prudent for the Officers of Ash Residents Association to attend the meeting and support the confirmation.

During the course of the meeting, a statement we had prepared was read out on behalf of Ash Residents Association and the full text of the statement can be seen below.

We are pleased to report that the TPO was confirmed unanimously by the Planning Committee with Councillor Stephen Mansbridge and Councillor Marsha Moseley speaking in support, and thanking Ash Residents Association.

This is an area TPO and it will be replaced by a more specific TPO covering individual trees, groups of trees and woodland in approximately six months time. We will of course keep you informed.

Statement on behalf of Ash Residents Association in Support of Tree Preservation Order (TPO) No.10 of 2011.

Ash Resident Association would like to thank the Department of Planning Services, the Trees and Countryside Manager and the Councils Tree Consultant for the speed and efficiency with which the Tree Preservation Order was applied in 2011, and their obvious concern for the environment.

Back in July 2011 Barton Wilmore sought Guildford Borough Councils’ view on whether development required an Environmental Impact Assessment, and they were subsequently advised that it did. This then went to the Secretary of State and was confirmed. In August 2011 work started on the Assessment.

Not long after this, a tractor, mounted with a heavy duty hedge & tree cutter, arrived in the fields to the south of Ash Lodge Drive, West of South Lane and East of Ash Manor School, and proceeded to cut back all of the hedgerows surrounding the fields by up to 30 feet, and in many parts destroyed the hedgerows completely, which resulted in damage to many of the mature trees within the hedgerows. At best this was wanton destruction, and at worst premeditated, because data gathering for the flora and fauna and wildlife component of the Environmental Impact Assessment commenced shortly after the destruction of the hedgerows, and hence will bias the results in favour of the developers.

In the areas covered by Tree Preservation Order (No.10 2011) are a number of Oaks which we are reliably informed are between 160 and 200 years old, and many Ash and Maple trees which need to be protected.

The popularity of the area is well known, not only for local residents walking dogs, walkers, joggers and organised ramblers, but people drive to the area to use it in pursuit of many different leisure activities. Riders can be seen regularly exercising their horses, and teachers with groups of schoolchildren use the fields for nature and wildlife education.

Crisscrossed as it is with public footpaths and bridleways, it is the only major natural amenity left in Ash, and the trees and hedgerows make a significant contribution to the character of the area.

As well as being appreciated by hundreds of walkers every day the trees are clearly visible from the Hogs Back (Surrey Hills), an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Finally, Ash Residents Association believe that the developers’ objection to the Tree Preservation Order is simply because they want to cut down trees and remove hedgerows for their own ends and without any regard to the wishes of the local community.

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