A retrospective “non-material amendment” has been submitted by the developers of Penarth Heights , Crest Nicholson to regularise apparently unauthorised removal of trees in the course of the construction of the large residential development which replaced the “Billybanks” council estate [which originally stood on the Penarth Escarpment].
PDN has been told that Crest Nicholson went ahead with the build without first discharging some of the planning conditions which were to have been implemented before work started. The firm is said not to have had all the conditions formally agreed with the Vale Council in advance.
The new submission is a move to “regularise” what has, in fact, already occurred on the site. It doesn’t mean any more trees will be chopped down now; it means that the firm is requesting retrospective permission for clearance work that it has already carried out – probably some years ago . From the Crest plan it appears that about 43 trees were earmarked for removal and taken down.
The new application enables the wording of the original planning conditions to be altered to take account of the current actual position. A PDN source says Crest Nicholson “should have submitted the details before they commenced work. They didn’t.”
The cleared area marked on the plan (top of the item) appears to include part of the escarpment slope overlooking the marina inner basin – the clearance of which was subject to considerable public criticism.
The Vale Council will now carry out checks with its other departments to ensure that the current position – as stated by Crest Nicholson – is correct.
A “non-material” application means that the matter is considered to be relatively minor and there need be no public consultation or planning committee discussion about the matter.
Details of the trees recommended for felling were originally published in 2007 in a Crest Nicholson-commissioned consultants’ report.
Another obligation which Crest Nicholson had undertaken was the provision of 10 “bat-boxes” for the wooded area in the North West of the site.
However Crest Nicholson now say : “The provision of bat boxes is as per the action agreed in our meeting earlier this year”. “However, under the 2012 permission, this action is no longer necessary due to no conditions requiring ecological mitigation”