Every decision a local
planning officer makes to determine the success or failure of your applications
for planning permission involves a tug of war between, on one hand, wishing to
allow all reasonable use of land, and on the other, a desire to protect the
environment in which your property sits. This goes for all extension,
construction and change of use requests. The trees that surround your property
could well be material to this decision, so it pays to know where risks and
opportunities lie with your leafy neighbours.
Your local planning
officer holds your project’s prospects in their hands. Their recommendations,
based on your application documentation, their site visits, third-party
discussions and planning guidance will influence the committee that will make
the final decision on your application. Are you prepared for your planning
officer charm offensive and do you know how the trees on your site could impact
on your planning application?
If you are a property
developer, whether of multi-property sites, new builds or refurbs and
extensions, we’ve identified three primary considerations for you to be mindful
of when you look for your next project.
preservation orders (TPOs)
A TPO is
a legal protection, afforded by a local council, covering an individual tree, a
group of trees or a whole forest, preventing any work to prune, cut back or
remove it. This can put a serious crimp in your planning permission prospects
as TPOs will be considered by local planning officers and if your works impact
on the likely health and wellbeing of a protected tree then you can be pretty well
assured that your application will fail. It’s easy to determine if a property
has a protected tree on its grounds because all records are available at the
local authority. Essentially, if your plans include extension, demolition or
construction and you have a tree with a TPO on it in your way, it’s best to
find another site/property.
conservation areas may or may not be protected by TPOs, but even if they are
not, they will be protected by section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act
1990, which requires anyone looking to do work to a tree in a conservation area
to apply for permission with the local planning authority. Needless to say, if
the work you’re looking to do is due to your plans to profit from the work
you’ll be doing to a property that impacts on the life expectancy of a tree in
a conservation area, this will make your planning application that much more
RIGS and Biological Heritage Sites
less likely to be relevant to you as a property developer, but it’s worth
noting them in case the land you’re considering for your development is
impacted by any of the following:
- Sites of
Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). There are over 4,000 of these in the
country, designated as important for the wildlife that lives there or the
geology of the land.
Important Geological and Geomorphological Sites (RIGS). These sites are
protected for their landscape features.
Heritage Sites have been designated as such to protect the local wildlife of an
property you’re looking to work on has trees in close proximity it makes sense
to assess the possibility of a local planning officer rejecting your planning
approval application on this basis. Planning officers may be overly cautious
and believe that particular trees could cause issues in the future when a
qualified arborist might be able to certify otherwise. Purchasing a property
lemon could cost you dearly and planning permission refusals may also result in
additional costs for reapplication that could eat into profits. To have a trusted
arborist on speed dial who can conduct all relevant surveys and investigations
to determine the risks posed by particular trees could well be invaluable. The
resulting reports can also alleviate any worries a local planning officer may
have, or drive your design in a different direction so it will be more likely
to get approval.
To book a survey and consultation with one of our ARB Approved arborists for
advice on your trees, or to book our tree surgeons to prune/maintain or fell
your tree(s), call us on 0208 292 8992.