Caton residents were shocked to see trees being cut down at the site of a former care home in the village.
One villager, who did not wish to be named, said diggers moved on to the Moor Platt site in the period between Christmas and New Year.
He said several trees were cut down without warning, many of which were believed to have previously been issued with Tree Preservation Orders. I am all for more housing but this was a beautiful site and they have gone in and ripped all the trees up that have been there for hundreds of years,” he said. Another nearby resident said an owl that hunted on the site could no longer be heard at night.
Persimmon Homes were granted planning permission for the site in October. They plan to build 33 homes, with 30 per cent of them designated to be affordable homes.They hope to begin construction next month, with the first homes to be ready for occupation in September.
As part of the application, Lancaster City Council recognised that, on balance, a number of protected trees had to be lost to facilitate the development. It is a matter for the developer to demonstrate that wherever possible trees are retained and that their relationship with the new development is respected,” a report to the council’s planning committee said. “The removal of excessive trees is likely to be unacceptable, but the removal of some trees ... is likely to be satisfactory.”
Persimmon Homes Lancashire technical director Kevin Farrington said: “Following the approval of our planning application for the redevelopment of Moor Platt at Caton, we are currently undertaking preparatory work to enable construction to begin on site.
“The site is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, but all tree works being undertaken have been approved as part of the planning application and accompanying Tree Protection survey. Tree protection measures have been identified and will be implemented to ensure the trees being retained are not damaged and are given the best chance to thrive. All works undertaken are done in accordance with approval of the Tree Officer.”
A city council spokesman said: “Trees within the site are subject to Tree Preservation Order no. 400 (2007).
“However, a planning consent for development overrides the powers of a TPO where those trees would have to be removed in order to facilitate the implementation of the planning consent.
“As such, a significant number of previously protected trees have been removed from the frontage with the public highway and from the middle of the site. However, trees to the east, north and western boundaries are to be retained.
“Protective barrier fencing is now in place to protect the retained trees during the course of forthcoming demolition and construction works.
“New tree planting will be undertaken to contribute to the mitigation of agreed tree losses.”