Trees must be taken into account on planning – Hill

North Down Alliance Councillor Tony Hill has said that the failure of Planning Service to take into account trees when approving developments remains an ongoing problem.

A decision by the Planning Service to approve the development of 14 houses at Worcester Avenue in Bangor West last June remains the best example of this, but it has become an issue elsewhere too.

The Bangor West representative stated: “It is an absolute disgrace that the elderly people living in Worcester Avenue could have their lives totally disrupted and beautiful woodland area decimated by this development. This must be a lesson for elsewhere in the borough also.

“I campaigned with the Planning Service for many months and managed to get a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) placed on trees in this area. This was a first step in an attempt to curb the development of 14 dwellings that is proposed at the rear of the flats in Worcester Avenue. The Planning Service now intends to override the TPO by amending it to allow the development to proceed. Apart from the damage that this would cause to trees and wildlife in the location, it is ridiculous to try and cram all these houses into such a small area behind the existing buildings. The people living in these flats are elderly and they have told me that they are totally against this proposed development. They just want to live their lives quietly and go about their daily business without a lot of hassle from builders, and the upset of new houses and additional traffic.

“Now we see similar issues being raised in Ballyholme and elsewhere. We must have clarity about the TPOs, and about what will happen to those who breach them. Regulations are irrelevant without enforcement.

“I welcome the input from the Woodland Trust and the Planning Service Landscape Architect’s Branch who are both opposed to the destruction of mature trees and wildlife. I trust the Planning Service will reconsider how they apply the criteria in such cases.”


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