Planning Applications

ASHRA's Response - Trees & Hedgerows

Trees & Hedgerows

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. The proposed development will destroy the existing hedgerow framework which must be protected.

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

Barton Willmore state in their Environmental Statement, that “during construction, approximately 200 metres of existing hedgerows. tree belts will be removed. As identified in the tree survey, all trees to be removed have been assessed as low quality, and the hedgerow removal limited to poor hedgerow”. It is truly amazing how their design means only the poor quality hedgerows and trees need to be removed.

Contrary to Barton Willmore's comments that the hedgerow are of poor quality, Aspect Ecology state that “The hedgerows are considered to form an important habitat for a range of wildlife species including bats, birds, and invertebrates, and are of high ecological value at a local level”. Aspect Ecology go on to say that all of the hedgerows within the site consist of at least one woody UK native species covered by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat description for hedgerows.

Ian Keen Limited in their Tree Survey state that several trees are, "Resource for woodpeckers", "Good resource for wildlife", "Potential resource for bats", and according to their report, they only recommend the removal of two trees from the actual proposed site. Ian Keen also say that "whilst the majority of trees upon the site are of little individual merit, collectively the make an important contribution to the visual amenity of the area and play host to a variety of wildlife.

This is amazing as Barton Willmore seem to be of the opinion, and would have us believe, that large numbers of the trees are dead or dying and subsequently can be removed.

Barton Willmore’s Environmental Statement, Non-technical Summary 4.10 states that a linear park is proposed, located at the heart of the Development, which accommodates the existing hedgerow/tree belt and creates a "green spine" through its centre. Children’s play spaces will be located within the park along with balancing ponds and an existing public footpath.

This linear park will run down the side of an extremely fast flowing and deep stream. Any child playing in or near this park would be in extreme danger.

Adjacent to this stream is where the “linear park” and “children play area” will be sited.

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