We need changes to tree planning regulations

Friday, 14th January

• I HAVE lived in Dartmouth Park since 1967 and for many years have commented on, or objected to, the tree planning applications for the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area Advisory Committee and, more recently, for the Dartmouth Park Neighbourhood Forum.

My comments are my personal ones, but if there is a difficult decision to be made I do consult others.

Your report (Green plea: save trees in gardens, January 6) states that of 189 applications for work to trees, only three were refused.

We have a similar overall rate in Dartmouth Park, as I referred to in my report to the neighbourhood forum at the annual meeting. Most are for much-needed prunings and crown reductions.

The Combined Residents’ Associations of South Hampstead (CRASH) has a strong local presence, most streets having their own residents’ association, whose individual residents comment upon the tree applications.

Camden planners take notice of the numbers of objections and comments to each of their applications.

Camden planners are currently constricted by law as to the numbers of applications they approve.

As Camden’s appeals and enforcement manager Elizabeth Beaumont said “visibility from a public place”, rather than “sustainability” carries more weight.

CRASH have asked Camden for changes in planning law. Danny Beales, Camden’s regeneration lead councillor, stated that they will be writing to the government recommending changes to the legislation.

I suggest, therefore, until the tree planning recommendations are changed, that Camden residents apply to the council for planning alerts within 500 metres of their homes and comment and or object on the tree applications as individuals.

This way more objections and or comments will be received, rather than from one representative person. This may get more notice taken of it.

We have many amazing trees in Dartmouth Park. Camden’s tree officers have always been most helpful to me over the years and I have felt privileged to meet the trees and their owners, most of whom care a great deal about their trees.

EILEEN WILLMOTT, NW5

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