‘Scruffy’ trees get permanent protection order

Friday March 31st 2023

Scruffy-trees-Midlothian

The trees marked T8 and T7 will be given permanent protection at Seafield Road, Bilston.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A collection of trees placed under a temporary protection order were described as ‘rather scruffy’ by a local councillor as officers asked for the order to be made permanent.

Eight individual trees and two groups of them were placed under the Tree Protection Order (TPO) in December after the landowner approached Midlothian Council for talks about redeveloping the land.

At a meeting of the council’s planning committee this week councillors were asked to approve making the TPO for the trees at Pentland Lea and The Firs, on Seafield Road, Bilston, permanent after officers argued that they provided valued amenity to the area.

However Councillor Peter Smaill raised concerns about the decision as he asked why the trees were considered special.

And he pointed out that the local authority had allowed trees to be removed when the Buccleuch Estate carried out work at King’s Gate, Dalkeith despite it causing ”quite a stooshie”.

Councillor Smaill said: “I am just slightly concerned here, and it is a subjective thing, these trees look rather scruffy, they are not very regular, they are not particularly special.

“I don’t think it is a conservation area, I don’t think it is an area of outstanding landscape.”

Referring the the trees removed at King’s Gate he added: “Those trees, while not in a very good condition, were in a much more significant position than these trees seem to be.

“I am not sure I am in favour of this TPO.”

Planning chief Peter Arnsdorf said the trigger for the TPO had been discussions with the landowner about possible development on the site.

He said: “We looked at it and felt the trees had valued amenity, that is a judgement call but that judgement was based on the size and number of trees, the location and built up area around it.

“We did feel that they had some amenity so to give them protection.”

The eight individual trees include Beech, Norway Maple, Sycamore, Ash, and Cherry trees.

The two groups were identified as also including Yew, Holly and Rowan trees.

Mr Arnsdorf told the committee they had received one objection to the TPO which came from the landowner who described the order as ‘premature’ and ‘unreasonable.

He said that should a future development on the site be approved and need the trees to be removed councillors would be able to add a condition asking for new replacement trees to be planted to counteract their loss. The committee approved the permanent TPO.

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