Woodland Areas and Individual Trees
In most cases, if one of Swindon‘s estimated 40,000 trees is on or in the local area near your development site, a tree survey may be needed before the local authority will even consider granting you planning permission. Although it could simply act as a precautionary measure, it will no longer be optional if any of the trees are protected, as Swindon Borough Council strictly requires the data retrieved from a tree survey to ensure that the planning project won’t disregard duties to tree care.
Large schemes are underway throughout Swindon and the surrounding areas of Wiltshire, with the local council pledging to allow for more in the coming years. For example, the first homes in the Canalside development are now occupied and plans for another 476 new properties have been submitted to the local authority. Smaller planning applications are also in play, including a recent submission for 45 new houses in a field between two developments, potentially creating a new suburb in Highworth.
While it is understandable to see the changing attitude towards green spaces and the environment as a daunting hurdle to overcome, the reality is far easier to deal with. Homeowners and development companies, for instance, are often treated favourably by the local authorities in applications for planning consent. Providing the necessary tree surveys have been conducted, all the information the planning case offer has requested should be in front of them to remove any remaining worries concerning your proposed development and give them every reason to approve planning.
Planning case officers use policy and evidence to determine the outcome of planning decisions. It simply isn’t possible to refuse planning permission without a valid reason, but likewise, they are required to defend every decision to grant planning, especially when there are environmental concerns. A robust tree survey and report can have a profound influence on how your planning case officer views your application, and it is possible for it to be the deciding factor between whether your development goes ahead on schedule, gets continuously delayed in the mire of appeal after appeal, or is refused outright.
Increasing Swindon’s Tree Stock
The town of Swindon is home to one of England’s ten new community forests. As part of a five-year programme, around 500,000 trees will be planted to create a minimum of 350 hectares of new woodland. Such a tree planting drive will increase the likelihood of developers encountering trees in the course of their projects, even if just as a result of the law of averages. Like it or not, developers will benefit from being forced to deal with an abundance of new trees, as they will be forced to factor them into their development plans and how they approach applications for planning permission.
That said, the local authority isn’t the only body that will take a keen interest in your planning application if it involves disruption to Swindon’s arboricultural features. Various special interest groups are active in and around the town, and local residents don’t always take kindly to the loss of tree cover. One recent example is when a coalition of groups led the Save Redlands Copse campaign and opposed plans by a developer to cut down protected trees. After pushing to prevent the change, the campaign was successful on behalf of the opposing groups and resulted in alterations to the planning proposal and a reduction in the number of trees felled from 92 to 53.
Coming away from the potentially numerous objections from multiple stakeholders and parties who hold environmental concerns regarding individual trees involved in your development plans can feel like something of a minefield, even if it results in planning consent. Fortunately, however, a tree survey will act as an all-encompassing solution to your problems when it comes to trees and the effect they can have on development and the all-important planning permission application. The necessary tree surveys will guarantee the utmost level of tree care, conclude in the highest number of retained trees possible, and emerge as the deciding factor in applications for planning permission.
Tree Assessments for Planning Permission
As a means of gauging potential hazards that could occur between a project and present trees, a BS5837 tree survey would act as the most suitable assessment. A tree surveyor will come to the site to inspect the trees and assign them a category. The chosen category will tell the local tree officer and the planning case officer how ecologically and environmentally significant each tree is. It is the desired outcome to conclude the tree survey with as many retained trees as possible, but it isn’t always plausible to do this.
If trees are disruptive to the development or disrupted as a result of the development and the plans cannot be changed to cater to them, the arboriculturist will be left with no choice but to recommend that they be moved elsewhere inside or outside of the site. Alternatively, trees that are in extremely poor condition, offer little ecological value or are potentially dangerous will be destroyed and compensated for with the planting of new trees. All trees will then be sufficiently accounted for, meaning that the requirements of the local council will have been suitably achieved.
Once the grading stage is complete, arboricultural surveys will finish with the tree consultant producing an AutoCAD map that features all of the trees on the site and can be overlaid on top of the existing plans to demonstrate any intervention between the two elements. A tree report will also be put together to explain the tree survey process undertaken, address any other key factors that need to be ticked off before the local authority can approve the planning application, and clarify if any other assessments could be needed prior to the eventual planning decisions such as a tree protection plan (TPP), arboricultural impact assessment (AIA) or arboricultural method statement (AMS).
Get In Touch to Discuss Your Options
All of the arboricultural surveyors at Arbtech are qualified for tree works in the form of tree surveys involving highlighting safety issues and recommending impactful remedial work on your site and the surrounding land. From a private developer to a commercial one and from a mortgage lender to a tree owner, we can help with achieving the unique requirements of our clients and ensure that the local planning authority in question has everything crucial to gaining planning permission.
Through a combination of extensive experience in conducting tree surveys and an understanding of geographically specific issues such as the relevant considerations of Swindon Borough Council, our tree surveyors are more than capable of thoroughly assessing your site and getting your project through planning. Each arboriculturist has the licencing, training and qualifications to assist your needs, and many of them worked in previous jobs as tree surgeons and other relevant roles to provide additional insight.
To make the first step, all you have to do is get in touch, and we can then use the unique specifications of your site and planning project to send you a free quote for the tree surveys you need. You can do this in a number of ways, including by calling us directly, emailing us, filling out a quote form online, or visiting our contact page on the Arbtech site. A date can then be chosen for a tree surveyor to attend your site, conduct a tree survey, and help you with your planning application by providing you with a tree report full of the information your local planning authority demands.