A PROTECTED tree has been cut down on a new Stafford housing site in a felling “fiasco”, furious residents have claimed.
Stafford Borough Council has launched an investigation into “unauthorised work” on the tree off Rowley Avenue, which was one of 15 covered by a tree preservation order.
A Stafford Borough Council spokesman said: “As part of our investigation we are interviewing parties under caution while others have provided statements. Follow- ing the investigation a report will be made on what action, if any, could be taken.”
But a resident who fought against the Taylor Wimpey development on the for- mer Westhorpe and The Laurels care home sites on land divided by Rotherwood Drive told the Newsletter the Corsican pine had been felled.
Contractors came onto the site in September to clear the trees not covered by TPO, but Gill Stokes of Rotherwood Drive described the situation as “a fiasco”.
“Against all common sense they did not mark any trees so that it was not clear to anyone which trees were protected.
“We all feel that this is a deliberate bad practice as it then allows for more ‘tailoring’ of the planned houses and as a cover should there be a ‘mistake’ made.
“Well, there has been a mistake made and a Corsican pine on Protection Order 550 of 2012 has been felled. So many superb and healthy trees have now been felled to simply make way for housing and only 15 trees on the whole site were able to be TPOd.
“Now there are only 14 left - unless more trees are accidentally chopped.”
The loss of around 100 trees on the site was one of the many reasons residents objected to Taylor Wimpey’s plans.
They said they were not against homes being built on the site but the volume of properties was their concern as they felt homes were being “crammed” in.
Other issues included the safety of school children and elderly residents of nearby Maple Court and Maple Lodge using the narrow roads, particularly as no footpath was proposed for Rotherwood Drive.
Stafford Borough Council rejected applications from Taylor Wimpey to build houses off Rowley Avenue twice in 2012.
Outline planning permission had been granted in 2008, but the number of homes revealed in the later applications sparked fierce opposition from Rowley Park residents.
In July Taylor Wimpey won its planning appeal against the borough council, gaining permission to build 27 homes on the site.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We can confirm the local authority is investigating an alleged breach of a tree preservation order and we are co-operating fully with the investigation.”