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Clovercourt Property Ltd admitted felling tree in Sandpit Woods, Carpenders Park
A developer has been cautioned for felling a protected tree in an area of woodland in Carpenders Park.
Clovercourt Property Ltd admitted breaching a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) during works in Sandpit Woods in March 2012.
A complaint from residents prompted an investigation by Three Rivers District Council which led to Clovercourt and another developer, Masma Ltd, being issued with a court summons.
Both denied breaching the order and were due to appear in Watford Magistrates Court on Monday (February 18). But at the hearing the council offered no evidence against either party.
The case ultimately focused on one tree that was felled - most trees on the private site were not subject to TPOs.
Councillor Keith Williams, cabinet member for leisure and community, said: "This situation was entirely avoidable and local residents were rightly shocked and angry.
"The preservation orders are legally enforceable and the caution should act as warning to any developer who would consider felling trees without checking with their local authority first.
"We will not hesitate to take legal action against any company cutting down trees illegally.
"The district council also has powers to stop illegal tree felling before it happens.
"Residents are our eyes and ears and they should contact us immediately if they have any concerns about tree works."
The conclusion of the legal challenge comes just days before the council is due to consider applications from Masma and Clovercourt to build four bungalows on the site with access onto Little Oxhey Lane.
Tonight (Thursday, February 21), the council’s planning committee will discuss the application and the planning officers’ recommendation that it be refused.
Reasons given for the recommendation include concerns about the safety of the access road, overdevelopment of the site, insufficient turning space for waste and recycling vehicles, lack of consultation with Network Rail about the proximity of the site to railway lines and the additional stress the development would place on local amenities.
Consultation documents show Hertfordshire Highways found visability to be a problem at the access to Little Oxhey Lane.
An official wrote: "The proposed access arrangement and its close proximity to the brick parapet wall of the railway bridge would put users of B4542 Little Oxhey Lane at a high risk of a collision, either with a vehicle emerging from the development or with a vehicle travelling behind (in the event of a sudden braking manoeuvre)."
Neither Masma nor Clovercourt had responded to requests for comment at the time of publication.