'No common courtesy' over lack of communication before Kenilworth tree felling

The lack of communication to nearby residents before several trees were felled in Kenilworth showed a lack of common courtesy, a district councillor has claimed.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 3:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:27 am
One of the felled trees on Thursday May 17

Several healthy oak trees were felled on land off Rouncil Lane a couple of weeks ago, which caused heated protests.

But the Forestry Commission had granted a thinning licence for up to 100 trees in the area and was satisfied the licence was being complied with.

Cllr Pat Cain, ward councillor for St John's, has now criticised the landowner Christine Archer for not informing nearby residents about the work in advance and said the angry reaction could have been avoided entirely.

Cllr Pat Cain has criticised the lack of communication about the felling by landowner Christine Archer

She said: "The work is quite legal, but what has gone wrong is the failure of the owner to put up signs communicating the work with residents. Out of common courtesy, that should have been done.

"The people who came out to do the work had no copies of the thinning licence on them - they should have been handing them out.

"All these problems have been caused by the lack of information in the first place.

"They started felling trees within a couple of hours. People who see it think 'what?' and flare up - and quite rightly so."

The felling has stopped for the time being

The felling of the trees began on the morning of Thursday May 17 until Cllr Sue Gallagher and Joshua Tebby, the son of nearby Rouncil Farm owner Ray Tebby, turned up in protest and argued with Cllr Alan Cockburn, the leaseholder of the land and Christine Archer's brother-in-law.

Contractors then tried to start felling again on Monday May 21, but no felling actually took place after Joshua and his brother Ben, who were protesting the felling, were allegedly assaulted and police were called.

The work was legal as the Forestry Commission had granted a 'thinning licence', which allowed up to 100 trees to be felled.

Despite the Forestry Commission approving the work, felling has stopped for the time being.

The felling was protested by nearby residents

Mark Osborne, the agent for Christine Archer, said all the necessary consents were obtained and hit back at Cllr Cain's comments.

He said: "The work was in three phases; the first in response to a tree survey which confirmed that certain trees were dead, potentially dangerous or needed remedial works to them to make them safer. The second phase of works was a thinning operation and the third phase was an extensive replanting scheme on the adjoining land.

"It is very easy for a district councillor to criticise, but perhaps she might consider how easy or indeed how appropriate it would be, for a landowner who is not local to the area, to communicate with people in the area.

"My client regrets if we have not communicated as well as we could have done, and we very much hope that this work can now be got on with."