Green councillor speaks out against loss of trees on Stonebow

23 January 2018

Green Party councillor for Guildhall ward, Denise Craghill and the party's Ward Coordinator, June Tranmer, have spoken out about the threatened loss of two mature trees on Stonebow, one of which had to be retained as a condition of the renovation of Stonebow House. Both trees are in the central conservation area and therefore require planning permission to remove them. The mature Whitebeam that stands at the end of Stonebow House at the junction of St Saviourgate and Whip-ma-Whop-ma-Gate was protected by a planning condition as part of the approved plan for the refurbishment of Stonebow House, but developers have now been told by the city’s tree officer that it isn’t possible to install paving as they had intended and also protect the tree. 

They have put in an application to fell the tree.  See report & all the objections flowing in & the application form to comment, on the planning website here.

Stonebow tree disruption

At the same time, work at the end of Stonebow House appears to have put the tree in danger with exposed roots and construction debris around it (see photo above taken 17th January). 

Cllr Craghill reported the state of the building site around the tree to planning enforcement yesterday and this afternoon (18th Jan) the area around the tree was tidied up, but the future of the tree remains uncertain. Cllr Craghill has asked for the decision on the application to fell to go to committee on the basis that its removal is yet another example of planning conditions agreed at committee being undermined afterwards. She said,

‘There is very limited green infrastructure in this part of the city and this tree greatly enhances the amenity of local residents and visitors alike. Its retention was a condition of the planning permission for Stonebow House and this should be honoured – if the design of the paved area needs to change a bit to protect the tree then so be it. We shouldn’t be felling a perfectly healthy tree, assessed as having 20-40 years of future amenity value, just because of some paving. Even if a semi-mature replacement is put in this would not have the same amenity value.’

A second tree that fronts onto Stonebow is also under threat. An application to fell the mature horse chestnut in St Cuthbert’s Churchyard at Peasholme Green was lodged several months ago on the grounds that it is ‘over-mature’ - See that report here. 

Whilst it appears the tree might be affecting the wall of the churchyard and may have some minor disease, it is unclear what remedial action has been considered to retain the tree.

Cllr Craghill adds,

‘This is a magnificent tree. We cannot afford to lose mature trees such as this from the city centre, if it is at all possible to retain it.’ Whilst the statutory decision period has passed it isn’t at all clear if a decision has been made.