Information regarding the felling of trees along Middleton Lane

The Parish Council has noted the high level of concern raised regarding the felling of a number of trees along Middleton Lane, at the site of the 21 houses to be built as part of planning application ref. 16/00972/FUL, which was granted permission some time ago.

The Parish Council enquired with Darlington Borough Council, and were provided with the following information.

There were a number of conditions attached to the planning permission, which included those for the requirement to submit a tree protection plan and method statement (condition 25), and landscaping (condition 4). Applications for approval of discharge of conditions are usually decided under delegated officer powers, and are not put out for consultation.

The initial application for discharge of these conditions (19/00413/CON) was withdrawn (incorrect information provided).

Revised documentation was provided and a new application for discharge of conditions submitted, and given a different reference number (19/00636/CON). This was approved at the end of September.

Within 19/00636/CON a tree report was submitted, which shows the trees and hedgerow to the front of the site along Middleton Lane removed. This was necessary due to the requirement to include a new footway along Middleton Lane, as part of the development. This planning condition was discharged on 24th September 2019, and the decision notice is available to view on the planning portal. The landscaping scheme shows compensatory planting across the site, including along the Middleton Lane frontage.

As you will appreciate, this development was granted by members of the Planning Application Committee contrary to officer recommendation. In resolving to grant planning permission for the proposal, members agreed to the requirements that the highways officer had stipulated at the time. In this case, there is a requirement for a new footway along Middleton Lane to improve connectivity and link the development into the surrounding infrastructure and whilst the first preference is always to retain existing healthy trees and hedgerows where possible, the inclusion of a new footway precludes the retention of those existing features along Middleton Lane. The landscaping scheme is required to be implemented concurrently with the carrying out of the development and will involve both replacement and additional trees and hedges across the site, including replacement trees and hedges along Middleton Lane. Please see attached landscape masterplan.

No trees subject to a TPO have been felled. Replacement trees include Extra Heavy Standard, Heavy Standard, and Standard trees.

The landscape masterplan can be found here:Landscape Masterplan

The amended arboricultural method statement and tree protection plan can be found here: Arboricultural Method Statement

The decision of approval of discharge of conditions for the tree protection plan can be found here: Discharge of Conditions Approval Notice