Proposals to replace several trees at an under-construction school in Morpeth have been approved – although councillors weren’t entirely happy.
A first school to replace the ageing Goosehill facility is currently being built on the site of the former fire and rescue workshop in Loansdean, just across the road from Northumberland County Council’s HQ at County Hall.
An application to vary two of the conditions in order to remove four trees and replace them with another five, and to install an electricity substation on the site went before the authority’s strategic planning committee this month.
The relatively minor amendments were unanimously approved, but some of the committee members were disappointed that they were needed in the first place.
A report to councillors explained that the removal of the trees is ‘due to on-site excavations, despite tree protection measures, resulting in trenches being very close to trees, bringing with them a risk of damage to roots and destabilisation.
‘The application is part retrospective as the trees have been felled already.’
Coun Malcolm Robinson was annoyed that the developers appeared to have ignored the plans and therefore damaged the trees.
“If we can’t manage this site, of a flagship project for the council across the road from here (County Hall), then we can’t manage anything,” he said.
The application had also sparked one objection from a neighbour, who objected to the removal of the four trees, saying that ‘the protection of the mature tees was a paramount concern of residents in the area of the site’.
A new electricity substation, to be surrounded by a two-metre-high mesh fence, is now required ‘as the existing one has insufficient capacity to cope with the needs of the new school’.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service