Trees at development site near Morpeth to be protected

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A line of trees in a prominent location at a site which has planning permission in the countryside around Morpeth will now be protected.

At last Monday's Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, members agreed to make permanent a provisional tree preservation order (TPO) on land at St Mary’s Park, near Stannington.

The provisional TPO was made at the request of a member of the public in light of the planning permission granted in March last year for the demolition of Ashley House to build five new homes.

It is understood that these Scots pines once formed part of a historic avenue leading to the now derelict Ashley House, situated to the south-east of the former St Mary’s Hospital.

The provisional TPO, which covers three tree groups, sparked an objection from Rivergreen Developments Ltd, which owns the site around Ashley House.

It raised concerns that retaining all of the trees in group three, the furthest south, would restrict access and obstruct the proposed building of a turning head.

Rivergreen also pointed out that its planning permission allowed for the felling of some of the trees at the southern end of the middle section of trees – group two.

Therefore, the planning officer recommended modifying the TPO to reduce the length of the line of protected Scots pines in group two from 75m to 65m and from 74m to 62m in group three.

The report says that this ‘would help to address the concerns of the landowner over the legal status of the trees for which the local planning authority has already given its consent to be felled, while ensuring that those trees recommended to remain within the confirmed TPO would receive the necessary legal protection to safeguard their future longevity and amenity value set within the open countryside surroundings of the wider St Mary’s Park development’.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service