Fury as trees come down

FURIOUS residents are today demanding straight answers after the owners of woods in Kesgrave felled up to 25 protected trees apparently without getting permission.

FURIOUS residents are today demanding straight answers after the owners of woods in Kesgrave felled up to 25 protected trees apparently without getting permission.

Many of the town's residents, who regularly walk through the pretty woodland next to Dobbs Lane, were shocked after discovering that vast amounts of scrubland and trees had been cleared.

The area, known locally as Dobbs Woods, is believed to be situated on ancient burial grounds and whole of the woodland is under a tree preservation order.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is now investigating the “serious incident” following the breach. However the landowners insist that the council told them they did not need permission as it is claimed it had been granted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

A spokesman for SCDC said: “A tree preservation order was issued on the woodland last September but the only communication we had received from the landowners was that they needed to clear some of the scrubland around the Anglo Saxon burial grounds.

“We visited the site and it is clear that as many as 20 to 25 mature trees including large oak, pine and douglas fir, have been felled, for which they have not sought or received permission from this council. We are continuing to investigate this serious incident.”

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Barry Clamp, a resident in Dobbs Lane, said: “I am so annoyed that they have got away with this.

“I am wondering what action is going to be taken. They have totally wrecked the area which is meant to be on ancient burial ground.

“Hundreds of people go to these woods for walks. These trees were 150 years old and someone just came along and chopped them down.”

Last year residents fought against a planning application for a children's hospice to be built in the woodland, which would have meant felling several trees. Permission was refused and a tree preservation order was put on the whole area as a result.

Natural England, which runs on behalf of the government, claimed it has an agreement with the landowners to carry out certain work in certain areas of the woodland but that is subject to other consent by other parties, like the council.

Anyone found guilty of violating a TPO, if convicted in the magistrate's court, is liable to pay a fine of £20,000. In serious cases the case can go to Crown Court.

What do you think about the trees being cut down? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk .

Jeremy Heal, a lawyer acting on behalf of landowners W.O and P.O Jolly, said: “The farmer has got a contract with Defra and as part of that he has to look after the woodland, in particular the tumuli, or ancient burial grounds.

“These trees have been cut down to stop roots damaging the ancient mounds. He had permission from both Defra and the Archaeological Society. He spoke to Suffolk Coastal District Council and someone there thought he didn't need its permission as he had got it from the government. He was told that he didn't need permission from the council so he went ahead with the work.

“They have planted hundreds of other trees in the wood. It is part of an overall management conservation plan with the government.”

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