Pledge to replace felled trees

HOUSEBUILDER Wilcon Homes, which is facing legal action for allegedly felling four protected trees, today pledged to replace them.The company said the holly trees had been axed at Purdis Farm by mistake, and vowed to put back new trees of the same type and height as those removed.

HOUSEBUILDER Wilcon Homes, which is facing legal action for allegedly felling four protected trees, today pledged to replace them.

The company said the holly trees had been axed at Purdis Farm by mistake, and vowed to put back new trees of the same type and height as those removed.

Suffolk Coastal councillors are being recommended on Thursday to agree to prosecute Wilcon Homes Anglia Ltd for chopping down the trees, which were part of a 60-year-old hedge in Bucklesham Road.

The hedge and its trees – which were covered by a Tree Preservation Order – were razed just four days before councillors were due to visit the site to inspect it and decide on planning permission for 33 new homes.

Wilcon Homes wanted the hedge removed to provide access to its proposed development, but the hedge was crucial to residents' opposition to the scheme.

They said it contributed to the rural nature of the road and wanted negotiations to continue to create a shared access with the golf club a short distance away.

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Matt Broomfield, regional managing director for Wilson Connolly, holding company for Wilcon Homes, said: "Wilson Connolly acknowledges that as part of the hedge removal by our contractors, four holly bushes were mistakenly removed.

"While this problem arose because of lack of clarity regarding tree protection orders, we accept that the ultimate responsibility is ours.

"It is the company's intention to liase with the local authority to undertake replacement of the trees with specimens of the same species and height.

" If the development is to be granted planning permission, we will also be providing a variety of other new planting and landscaping, to be approved by the local authority."

Details of planning officers' investigations will be given to the development control sub committee, which is being recommended to take court action.

The holly trees were protected under an order made in 1990 and it is alleged that the felling of the trees is an offence under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and a breach of planning control.

Wilcon Homes are one of the most successful and respected house builders in the country, with turnover in 2001 of over £700m, building around 4,000 homes ever year.

WEBLINK: www.wilcon.co.uk

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