Update on the work carried out on Green Belt land at Catherine Road Benfleet.

Further to the previous Blog post regarding the felling of trees, probably to clear land, at Catherine Road Benfleet.

A letter from Castle Point Council Planning Enforcement officer has been made public;

To: William Sharp (Cllr)
Cc: Steve Rogers
Subject: Trees at Catherine Road

Dear Cllr Sharp

I have been down to look at the site and now met the owner to discuss the works.

I am advised that many of the trees were dead or dangerous and that tree surgeons refused to climb them when asked to carry out works. The owner further advised me that he will try to keep those trees worthy of retention within the centre of the site and as many of the trees around the boundaries as he can. I pointed out a fine oak towards the top end of the site and an ash that might be worthy of retention at the bottom. My eye was also drawn by the owner to a pine near Forest House which he wants to keep.

Irrespective of what I was told it was clear from looking at those trees still remaining that many of them were in a poor condition with small unbalanced crowns, thin and broken overly extended limbs, and rot. A significant number of these trees would need to be removed in any case if others are to be given the opportunity to grow and develop into better specimens.

Given that the land currently falls within H9 in the draft New LP and already abuts approved development to the north, I am struggling to see how a woodland type TPO could at this late stage be justified. The fine oak at the top end of the site may be a different matter. I attach some photos FYI.

Regards Rob.

Planning Enforcement Officer

Councillor Sharp has responded;
“I dispute the H9 reference re this strip of land .. As I have checked and it is not even in the SHLAA . As I have said before the term H9 is one that has been used by officers for definition of sites / land and nothing else . I have checked the SHLAA (CPBC Strategic Land Availability Assessment) and London road site is under PGB 36 whilst the Felsted / Catherine rd site is under PGB 05 and this destroyed piece of woodland is not in the SHLAA …”
The SHLAA effectively works as a “call for sites” that local landowners wish their land to be included within, so that it may be put forward for consideration as developable.

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