Councillors for hire who give firms planning advice - Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph also looked at another aspect of the fruits of lobbying from the inside. When it comes to advice about trees...
Planning investigation: 'we’d say cut down trees before they object’
Telegraph investigation: For Graham Salisbury there is a simple explanation for his firm’s near perfect success in helping developers win planning permission — “ruthless determination”
By Claire Newell, Holly Watt, Ben Bryant and Christopher Hope
Other Councillors seem to have the same lack of respect for trees and those who hold them dear:
Esher councillor stands down from planning committees after Telegraph sting
By Laura Proto
Monday 11th March 2013Coun Archer said he could persuade councillors to back developments with trade-offs and said he knew “who the tree huggers are and who the thick idiots are”.
Esher councillor stands down from planning committees after Telegraph sting (From Your Local Guardian)
Now, there has been an application in West Hill for dwellings where once oak trees stood:
Claire Wright - Your Independent East Devon District Councillor for Ottery Rural
This is not the first time in the District that there have been such concerns. In 2008, 'healthy mature' cedar trees were felled in a controversial application for housing in Sidmouth:
There was 'official' concern too:
Sidmouth Town Council raised concerns in the Minutes of its Planning Committee at point 08:9/P15.5:
On 16th May, the Clerk wrote to the District Council regarding the above application expressing concern regarding the behaviour of the Property Developers at Cedar Shade in respect of the trees. The Clerk reported that a reply was still awaited.
The role of all the authorities was questioned:
And so to the puzzling role of the district council. The site could not be developed to best advantage unless a number of the trees were removed. The council decided that all the trees that were in the developer's way were either "over-mature" or were diseased or more dangerous (and couldn't be made safe?) What a convenient coincidence!!
The County Highway Authority had recommended refusal of the planning application. That recommendation was rejected by EDDC. Although it is pernickety when it deals with small matters, the council seems to become excessively limp when it is asked to accommodate the needs of major developers. It strains at gnats and swallows elephants.
The only reported contribution of the town council to the debate was that if trees had to be felled they should not have all been removed at once. I question whether one a year would have suited the developer!
We must all make planning concerns known - Letters - Sidmouth Herald
And the Vision Group expressed concern that this case would set a precedence:
Mr Crick pointed to Cedar Shade, a project which saw mature trees controversially felled, where 30 per cent of luxury apartments are awaiting a first buyer three years on.
Vision Group for Sidmouth’s Fortfield concerns - News - Sidmouth Herald
The SVA now has its own Tree Officer:
Concerned at the “carnage” inflicted on trees at Cedar Shade, the Sid Vale Association has appointed an officer to keep an eye on trees under threat. As an Association we have always been concerned about trees and the well being of our environment here in the Sid Valley - but with complications with the rules re Planning and so much change happening around us, we need our members to have a direct line to an officer who can immediately investigate any threatened tree of note in the town and surrounds..