Chopping down tree would be ‘criminal’

Plans to cut down this silver birch tree in Smithbarn, Horsham, were rejected by the council last week (JJP).

Plans to cut down this silver birch tree in Smithbarn, Horsham, were rejected by the council last week (JJP).

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A silver birch tree in Horsham was reprieved after the council rejected an application to fell it.

Nick Tasquier, who lives in Smithbarn, wanted permission to fell the 13 metre-high tree in his front garden, but told Horsham District Council he was amenable to planting a new tree at a different location.

However members of the Development Control North Committee turned down the request last Tuesday, since it was covered by a Tree Protection Order.

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) said: “It would be criminal to take it out.”

Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) added: “Why does anybody want to take it down? It looks superb.

“If it was my house I would certainly not chop it down.”

However Mr Tasquier said he wanted to remove the tree so he could widen the drive as his children learned to drive and had cars of their own.

Tricia Youtan (Con, Itchingfield, Slinfold and Warnham) said it would be a shame that since they seemed to ignore so many TPOs, they would do so in this case.

Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) added: “How could we want to take it down? It’s a fabulous tree.”

The officer’s report read: “There appears to be no justification whatsoever for the felling of this tree, a specimen of high amenity value, the removal of which would result in distinct and undesirable loss of amenity to the locality.”

Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) told members he would not consider himself a tree-hugger, but he saw no reason to get rid of a ‘healthy tree’ which appeared to be a ‘very fine specimen’.