Posted by: swinemoor | January 13, 2014

The Robinia Question

What has a lowly false acacia (Robinia pseudoacacia) to do with what is happening at the old Westwood Hospital site? The answer is everything as it reveals something about how developments, such as that on the old hospital site, are dealt with by ERYC..

This website has long maintained that deals are done in back rooms long before the public are made aware of them and that the role of the Planning Committee is purely to rubberstamp these. This is why a sub-standard ‘hospital’ was built on supposedly protected flood-prone land in spite of having ancient hedgerows and Protected Species when there were other, suitable sites in and around Beverley.  ERYC ‘directed’ the PCT to this site and nothing was going to prevent this happening.

In the case of access over the Westwood to the old hospital site, something similar appears to be going on and the evidence is contained within the recent planning application made by P J Livesey to remove some trees from the old hospital site. This application was lodged in November and the consultation phase included the Christmas period: how convenient….   Sadly, the window for comments has now closed.

The application for planning permission is referred to on the ERYC portal as: BEVERLEY WESTWOOD CONSERVATION AREA – Fell declining Plum tree (T5), Fell self-seeded Ash trees (G7), Clear access around Robinia tree (T10) and fell two declining Holly trees (T19-T20). This would imply that only about five trees will be removed. Is this the case? P J Livesey in their application to remove the trees stateRemoval of Trees. Please see attached landscape plan and tree survey which identifies all trees to be removed. The attached landscape plan shows the proposed planting scheme to compensate for the loss of the trees. The trees are to be removed for the purposes of residential amenity and to allow for the proposed street layout to be established as part of the redevelopment of the f[o]rmer hospital site. Trees have been retained where ever possible. However, a quick look over the landscape plan will reveal that a minimum of 19 trees will be removed – a euphemism for felled. Which is the case? It is not clear yet how this application managed to get past ERYC’s validation process and nor did it elucidate an objection from any ward Councillor or from Beverley Town Council. This is depressing.

Back to the Robinia. If you look at the application they have mentioned the felling of the Robinia Tree (T10), however, on the landscape plan this tree is not marked for felling and, according to the tree survey, is of ‘moderate quality’ with a life expectancy of at least 20 years. Why then have a large number of trees that P J Livesey wish to fell been left out of the application form (are they intending to fell these if this application is granted?) while one they are not proposing to fell (according to the landscape plan) is included? The answer would appear to be in the date of the tree survey report, July 2013. Was this survey conducted before there were discussions between the developers and the ERYC regarding access to the site and is this the reason why this tree was not originally identified for removal as the other ones were? A clue lies in the application summary at the top of the ERYC planning portal page. Here it says Clear access around Robinia tree (T10). So we now know that the reason for the removal of this tree, unlike the others, is access but initially this was clearly not required as there was no proposal to remove it.

The key thing about this tree is its position: it is at the rear of the site, well away from the main access through the archway. However, it is right in the path of the proposed access route across the Westwood. In other words, P J Livesey are applying for planning permission to remove this tree to allow access from the Westwood, before their main planning application for the site has even been validated by the ERYC. They are clearly planning to use this entrance and are proposing to undertake pre-works here if this tree removal application is granted.

Location of Robinia Tree © Google Maps

Location of Robinia Tree
© Google Maps

This situation is suspiciously similar to what occurred at Swinemoor where the hedges were removed prior to the planning application for the ‘cottage hospital’ being submitted. Don’t get fooled again: register your objection to any access across the Westwood by signing the petition.

 


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