AN ‘OASIS of natural wonder’ in Lancing is now ‘harder to bulldoze’ with added protection granted by Adur District Council.
The authority’s Planning Committee unanimously agreed to Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on two areas of trees, one north of Prince Avenue, and another at the end of West Way.
The decision, made last Tuesday night, was greeted with applause from several residents in the public gallery.
Chris Drew, chairman of the West Beach Residents Association, said: “By putting a TPO on our trees you have made it much harder for the landowner to send the bulldozers in and destroy all the wildlife.
“Hopefully it will help us in the future.”
Afterwards Cllr Geoff Patmore, one of the ward members for the area and vice chairman of the residents association, described the woodland as an ‘oasis of natural wonder’, and added: “We are all very pleased and the estate is overjoyed.”
He explained how it screened the houses, was a wet woodland providing some flood defence for West Beach and was an important wildlife site, especially for birds.
He added: “It’s in a pristine natural state and residents wanted to preserve that.”
During Tuesday’s meeting Mr Patmore told councillors how important protecting the woodland was to residents of West Beach, and was also important to prevent any flooding on the nearby static home sites.
Cllr Carol Albury said: “It’s vitally important areas like this stay as they can’t be replaced easily.”
Cllr David Simmons added: “Green lungs in our communities are very important, especially when we are under pressure to increase the density of housing and I think they are essential.”
According to the officers’ report one objection was received from PJC Consultancy, who are acting as agents for the landowners.
It argued that one of the woodland sites, which has no public access, was only partially visible from Prince Avenue, and that implementing a development with appropriate landscaping areas and tree planting, would be preferred to confirming the TPOs.
The company also suggested that TPOs on the two areas of woodland was motivated in order to prevent development on the site.
However the council also received 16 emails of support from residents, as well as a letter in favour from the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Planning officers explained that the TPOs had to be made in regard to their amenity value, not as a way of stopping development on the site.
The report added: “The individual trees within the two woodland areas would not be of particular merit on their own, but as part of woodland their cohesion provides a long term visual amenity to the area.
“It is considered that the formation of two small woodland groups amongst the mostly grass and scrub of this flat coastal area of Lancing is a rarity and important to the visual amenity and character of the direct and surrounding area. The order has been made to ensure that no trees are removed without consent prior to any future development of this site.
“The land north of West Beach is not currently allocated in the emerging Local Plan and if at any time in the future residential development was to be considered appropriate it would need to be planned having due regard to existing landscape features in any event.”
Tree Preservation Orders prohibit cutting down, topping, lopping, uprooting, wilful damage and wilful destruction of trees without a local authority’s written consent.
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