Tree Preservation Order Appeals

Individual Stake Holders

If you have received a refusal against the consent to fell or prune a protected tree Peter Scott can provide sufficient professional support which may overturn the Council’s decision on appeal.

When the Local Planning Authority (LPA) decides to refuse consent (or grant consent subject to conditions) they should give their reasons for the decision. These should relate to each of the applicant’s reasons for making the application. For example, if a person applies for consent to cut down a tree on the grounds that (i) it is causing damage to his property, (ii) it blocks out too much light from his property, and (iii) it has little ‘amenity value’, the refusal notice should address each of these points. It would not be sufficient simply to refuse such an application ‘because the work proposed would be detrimental to amenity’.

The LPA must also explain the applicant’s right of appeal to the Secretary of State against the decision, explain the applicant’s right to compensation for loss or damage suffered as a result of the LPA’s decision (this will depend on whether or not the LPA have decided to issue a certificate under article 5 of a TPO made before 2 August 1999) and how a claim should be made.

The LPA may wish to attach to their decision notice advice on certain aspects of the refusal. Useful advice (sometimes known as an ‘informative’) can be given, for example on where people can obtain specialist advice. General advice is available from the Arboricultural Association.

Once you have decided to appeal, Peter Scott can obtain a Tree Preservation Order appeal form. The completed form must be submitted to the Government Office for the West Midlands, no later than 28 days from the date of the Local Authority’s decision. Peter Scott must also send a copy of the completed form to the local authority involved. Peter Scott will ask you to choose between the following two types of procedure for dealing with the appeal: (1) written procedure, or (2) hearing. We recommend the written procedure because it is usually the quicker and more effective way of handling appeals of this type.

If both sides agree to have the appeal handled under the written procedure, the Local Planning Authority will be asked to provide their full response to our grounds of appeal within 6 weeks of our starting date. We will send you a copy of their response and you will have an opportunity to comment on it if you wish. If by then any third parties have submitted comments on the appeal, the Government Office will copy these to you also.

After that, the Government Office will be in touch again to arrange a suitable date for an inspector to visit the site. Although Peter Scott, you and someone from the local authority will be able to attend this site visit, please bear in mind that its purpose is to enable the inspector to see the site and surroundings at first hand, so that he can properly consider the written statements already provided. The inspector may wish to ask questions to clarify factual points but will not be able to discuss the merits of the case with either side, all of which should be set out in their written statements. Appeals handled under the hearing procedure (which also normally include a site visit) are referred to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. The hearing date and the timetable for providing written statements will be confirmed by the Inspectorate.

The Secretary of State aims to issue a decision on the appeal within 16 weeks from the date of the site visit or inquiry/hearing. If, in dealing with an appeal, the Secretary of State allows the felling of a tree, he/she will often wish to require the planting of a replacement tree. If your appeal relates to the felling of a tree, please let Peter Scott know whether you believe it would be appropriate in your case to plant a replacement tree, together with any ideas you might have as to its size, species and location.

Appeals should, of course, be considered as a last resort. If Peter Scott is able to reach agreement with the Local Planning Authority at any time during the appeal process before the site visit, we can withdraw the appeal at any stage, and this would not prejudice any future appeal you might wish to make.