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Resident calls in lawyers over new homes threat to his trees


By Adrian Curtis


A home owner has threatened legal action against South Cambridgeshire District Council after it implied his future neighbours could force him to clear trees from his land as part of a new development adjacent to his property.

Peter Kruger, of Leaden Hill in Orwell, instructed his solicitors to act after the district council suggested he could be pressured to remove two trees on his land by whoever moved into the new development.

The planning application, which has yet to be determined, is for a residential development containing one detached and a pair of semi-detached dwellings following the demolition of existing barns. But the council’s tree officer, Miriam Hill, stated that it was unlikely the two trees, an oak and a paper birch, would “be retained in the medium to long term due to neighbour pressure on the tree owner to remove/over prune”.

Peter Kruger and oak tree in dispute with SCDC over development, at Leaden Hill, Orwell, Royston. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7781120)
Peter Kruger and oak tree in dispute with SCDC over development, at Leaden Hill, Orwell, Royston. Picture: Keith Heppell. (7781120)

Mr Kruger’s legal representatives insist the statement is “irrational” and in the meantime Mr Kruger has applied for a tree preservation order for the oak.

In a letter to SCDC, the lawyers said: “This is plainly an irrational comment. The trees officer has presupposed that these trees will have to be removed in the future due to ‘neighbour pressure’ and has therefore erroneously failed to consider the baseline adverse impacts that the proposed development will have on these trees in the present circumstances.

“The trees have been situated on our client’s property for over 20 years and he has no intention of cutting them down. The only possible ‘neighbour pressure’ would be from future residents of the proposal.”

A spokesperson for SCDC said: “Council officers are aware of the concerns, and as yet no decision has been made.

“As with all planning applications, decisions will ultimately be made by assessing a number of factors against the national planning framework, which councils must adhere to.”



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