LOCAL councillors have agreed not to make any objection to the possibility of Tree Preservation Orders being placed on a large number of trees within the Valley Park and on a section of council-owned land at Shore Road near Merville Garden Village.
At their monthly meeting on Monday night, council members were advised that the Department of the Environment issued provisional Tree Preservation Orders for both sites on August 8 in response to requests from two members of the public.
It’s understood the rationale for making the Orders was stipulated as “the amenity value of the trees concerned.”
Proposals are already on the table to develop a cemetery on land within the Valley Park, and it has been mooted that the Shore Road site could be sold off for a major commercial development.
Several members questioned the value of the trees concerned, some of which were planted by the council, and why Tree Preservation Orders had been applied for now on these two particular areas of land.
Describing the situation as “unusual”, alderman Paul Girvan said: “It very much looks to me like someone is trying to frustrate planning on these pieces of land.”
Backing a proposal from councillor Thomas Hogg that the council make no objection to provisional Tree Preservation Orders being placed on the trees at both sites, alderman John Blair said: “It is perfectly natural for people in the local community to safeguard their environment in the face of development proposals. We should leave it to the experts in the Department to decide which trees are worthy of Preservation Orders.”
Over the next six months the Department of the Environment will carry out an extensive survey at both sites before deciding which trees, if any, should be protected with Tree Preservation Orders. The results of the survey will be reported to the council next year.