Media release - issued 28 Feb 2018

Landowner, landscaping company and director fined for illegal tree felling

A landowner, the company he employed and its director, have been fined almost £12,000 after admitting felling a tree in a Farnborough conservation area without permission.

Rushmoor Borough Council successfully brought the prosecution against Andrew Henderson, a developer, of Wykeham Road, Farnham; Bristlecone Gardens Ltd, whose registered office is at Farnborough Road, Farnborough; and David Pink, (the director of Bristlecone Gardens Ltd) of River Lane, Farnham.

At Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Thursday 22 February, Henderson, Pink and Bristlecone Gardens Ltd, admitted a charge of permitting the cutting down of a mature sycamore tree, which was within the South Farnborough Conservation Area, contrary to section 211 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. 

Henderson was fined £7,000 with costs of £1,550; Bristlecone Gardens Ltd's fine was £2,954, with costs of £475; and Pink was fined £1,969 and ordered to pay £300 costs. Henderson, Pink and Bristlecone Gardens will each have to pay a victim surcharge of £170. 

The charge related to the felling of a sycamore tree without permission at Farnborough Road, Farnborough, in February 2017. As the site lies in the South Farnborough Conservation area, permission for any work was needed in advance from Rushmoor Borough Council.

The court heard that a concerned neighbour reported the removal of the tree immediately to the council.

An investigation was launched, and Henderson was interviewed twice, in May and July, and Pink in June.  Henderson claimed he was not aware the tree was in a conservation area while Pink said that Henderson had advised him that the tree was not subject to a tree preservation order and that it was not within a conservation area.

But the court heard that a planning document, submitted to the council by Henderson, along with a planning application in December 2016, had described the site as lying within the South Farnborough Conservation Area.

Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Business, Safety and Regulation, Councillor Ken Muschamp, said: "Court action is always the last resort for us but we take the protection of our borough's natural environment, green space and trees very seriously.

"We would strongly advise anyone wishing to carry out any work on a tree within a conservation area to check with our planners before carrying out any work. If Mr Henderson or Mr Pink had made one phone call to check they could have saved themselves thousands of pounds.  Or they could have gone on line and checked - all of the Tree Preservation Orders and conservation areas are detailed on the council's website."

For more details on TPOs and trees in conservation areas please go to our Trees and development and protected trees web pages.

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