The Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council has lifted a Tree Preservation Order which – up to now – has prevented the Labour-run Penarth Town Council from felling a perfectly healthy Robinia tree in the grounds of Penarth Town Council’s HQ at West House on Stanwell Road.
The decision to lift the order came in the final meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s planning committee.
Cllr Chris Franks (Plaid Dinas Powys) told the committee he understood “the tree is OK – it’s just that there’s defective drainage.”
“If that’s the case I would have though the priority would have been to repair the drains rather than chop the tree down” .
Planning Chief Marcus Goldsworthy referred Cllr Franks to an on-line report which explained the background to the issue and said if members had any further questions they should “write in with their questions” .
This glib response wasn’t good enough for Cllr Franks . He said “But this is an agenda item before us tonight – and, although hope springs eternal, we might not be here in the future. I think the committee should have it explained why problems with the drains result in a fine tree being chopped down” .
In the chair Cllr Fred Johnson – presiding over his final planning meeting before retirement – said trees undermined drains because “trees keep growing believe it or not”.
The Vale Planning Department said the decision was a “delegated one” and had already been taken. The planning report was just “for noting”.
Cllr Peter King (Labour Cornerswell) said he had asked the officer why the tree was to be felled. He was told the tree was causing “heave and disruption to the drains” and it would be impossible to fix the drains and keep the tree.
Cllr Franks said he was not satisfied with the decision but he did not think it was possible to get any further . The Robinia tree’s fate has now been sealed.
The irony is that the rogue Robinia tree was originally planted outside West House by the Vale of Glamorgan Council itself, back in the days when it was a borough council.