Plans to replace storm-damaged tree on retirement flats site set to be approved

A computer-generated image of what the finished building will look like, with it due to be completed in early 2021.

A computer-generated image of what the finished building will look like, with it due to be completed in early 2021. Picture: Churchill Retirement Living - Credit: Archant

A storm-damaged horse chestnut tree on a retirement development plot in Sidford is set to be replaced.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) planning officers have recommended approval for the plans submitted by Churchill Retirement Living to vary a condition relating to a tree on the former Lockyer Lodge development.

The developer was previously granted permission for a 40-apartment retirement complex in South Lawn.

If councillors on EDDC’s planning committee agree with the latest proposal, the tree, which was felled for safety reasons, would be replaced by a new sweetgum tree.

During consultation, Sidmouth Town Council raised concerns over the replacement of a maturing horse chestnut with a small young tree as it would be contrary to the neighbourhood plan and affect the amenity of neighbouring residents.

Policy six of the Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan states: “Development should be designed so as not to adversely impact on the amenities of its neighbours and should seek to protect any existing trees that contribute to the overall amenity of the area.”

However, planning officers have recommended approval.

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The officer’s report said: “The previous chestnut tree on the site was considered to be in decline, and was subsequently storm damaged, and its replacement with an extra heavy standard tree is supported by the tree officer.

“It is therefore considered that the proposal is acceptable subject to all previous conditions being re-imposed and planting of the replacement tree.”

EDDC Trees said it had no objection to the removal of the tree which is in ‘severe decline’.

The officer’s report added: “The tree officer inspected the tree prior to its removal and has concluded that it was in a poor state....

“As requested by the town council, a Tree Preservation Order was considered, but given the condition of the existing tree at the time, it was not considered to be of suitable quality to be covered by a TPO.”

Work on the 40-apartment development and is due to be finished in early 2021.

EDDC’s planning committee will discuss the variation application when it meets virtually on Wednesday (October 7), at 10am.