9.2 Rept Proposed pruning of tree 210907

September 2021 Uploaded on September 2, 2021

7th September 2021
1.1 Members will recall that on 4th May 2021, you considered a request to severely prune a tree
which is located at the junction of the unmade section of Mere Lane and the Buttercup Way
footpath. The tree is in the ownership of the Parish Council. Council resolved that the request
should be refused, primarily because of the impact such a level of pruning would have on the
appearance of this young, well-formed tree, and the consequent impact on the appearance and
character of this part of Mere Lane.
2.1 During the summer there has been continued correspondence between the person requesting
that work and your Clerk, and the applicant has reduced the scale of pruning that is requested.
Extracts from recent emails and photographs supplied by the applicant are appended to this
2.2 The Council’s arboricultural expert has again been consulted on the request and has expressed
significant disagreement with some of the statements made by the applicant. For instance he
states that the shadows cast, at the end of the day when the sun is already weak, may
infinitesimally impact on the growth of plants, washing drying and lawns drying, but not so much
so you would ever notice the difference. and throughout most of the afternoon none of these
effects could be blamed on the tree in question. He is also concerned that some of the
comments made by the applicant may be overstated.
2.3 He concludes that it would be possible to carry out a lighter pruning of the tree such that it puts
it in a state of suspended animation (growth wise) and that such a pruning regime once
abandoned will allow the tree to again grow on as if nothing had happened. He estimates that
this would take a 2-man team a half day, once every five years and cost in the region of £360
per time (at current prices).
3.1 Two primary considerations apply. First members need to take a view on the merits of the case.
Is the size and location of this tree such that it has an significant and unacceptable effect on the
garden of the applicant? Members will recall that my report to Council in May noted that “It is
located approximately 8-9 metres directly east of the nearest point of the requester’s rear
garden fence. In terms of the passage of the sun, it is considered that this tree could only have
any significant effect toward sunset and does not obstruct sunlight to the garden for the great
majority of daylight hours.”
3.2 If members decide that it does have such an effect then it is necessary to balance that with the
potential impact of pruning the tree on its contribution to the character of this part of Mere
3.3 Should members be inclined to consent to some form of pruning of the tree along the lines of
the reduced pruning now suggested by the applicant, then it is necessary to decide what regime
will be adopted (since it is not a once and for all operation but will have to be repeated
periodically), who will carry it out, and who will fund those works. On these points your Clerk’s
views are as follows:
 The tree is owned by your Council therefore any works should be under the direct
control of your Council and not a private occupier.
 The Council should therefore dictate which contractor is to be used and should be
responsible for giving instructions to that contractor. The Council is under no
obligation to seek competitive quotes in a case like this.
 The work should be funded by the applicant and appropriate arrangements need to
be made to ensure that this takes place each time the tree is about to be so pruned
– probably prior to any work being carried out each time.
 This is an additional task for the Council, and its clerk, adding to the workload for
4.1 That members consider the revised request to prune the tree.
Jack Steel
Clerk to the Parish Council
7th September 2021
Appendix to report – Extract from various emails from the applicant to the Parish Council
Regarding your unsurety as to the loss of sun in my garden, the camera doesn’t lie. As you can
see from the previously attached and re-attached photo, I currently have the area above the
green line and to the right-hand corner of my garden/patio that is already denied sunshine due
to the height of the tree. The tiny area of sunshine to the left of the table clearly shows you
how restricted I am in receiving sunshine. This area on the left is currently shadow free as the
tree hasn’t quite stretched out its branches here, but with the quick rate of tree growth, I
believe that this time next year, the whole area will be denied sunshine. Any retention and
small improvement to receiving sunshine would provide “a noticeable benefit to your garden”
as you dispute, but this shouldn’t be based upon your opinion but on the facts. The obstruction
of sunlight, restricts the growth of flowers, keeps the lawn soggy for longer and prevents
washing being dried for most of the afternoon.
I also find it hard to believe that from the other attached picture, the Parish Council can state
that the tree’s look will be ruined. All I’ve asked for laterly is that the top of the tree be rounded
over (blue line as a suggestion), keeping a nice looking tree but just reduce the height to allow
at least the patio to retain afternoon/evening sunlight.
However, and most importantly, I think you are missing the primary point which I noted in my
first request, as follows; “Who doesn’t enjoy sitting in the sunshine but once the sun has
reached the afternoon, we quickly lose the opportunity to sit in it, not great for mental health
at the moment! As a sun lover, it’s awful having a lovely garden and have to sit in the
shade”. This isn’t about the garden impact, it’s more about the effect it has on me and my
family’s mental wellbeing. We have all worked through lockdown so our joy is being able to
sit in the garden after work or at the weekends. It is truly depressing having to watch the sun
disappear from your garden, when it doesn’t actually have to be that way and moving the
patio chairs around to the left as we lose the sun due to the tree top. Our garden was one of
the key points in buying this house and your decision to do nothing at all, is currently taking
this away from us and will see almost no sun next year. (Fact)
If the Parish Council actually took all the above into honest consideration, I really don’t believe
that we couldn’t come to some compromise.
I can’t explain this any clearer so I ask that the Parish Council re-consider and offer a
compromise based upon the above, as opposed to you seemingly making the decision upon
their behalf.
 You incorrectly assume that because I have a south facing garden, I have lots of sun, of which
we have had quite a lot of these last few months, this is untrue and as follows:
o You will see from the first 3 pictures attached that this totally incorrect as the south facing
garden is opposite the caravan park, which has its own border of trees that block out sun from
my garden. The green line is my fence line
o Picture one is the tree in question, sitting on Parish Council land then travelling left along the
back fence to the other side of the garden . You will note that your tree is substantially shorter
that the caravan park trees so this will give you a good indication of the impact of sun blockage
I am receiving all day from the South, South West sunshine
o The last 3 pictures show you the shade impact when we had lovely whether in early spring,
even before the trees are in full leaf, from the caravan park. The sun clearly doesn’t reach high
enough so it is a year-round problem for us
o The reason for this request is that your tree blocks the sunlight for the majority of time that I
have to enjoy the sunshine, late afternoon onwards in the height of the Summer. However,
the sun doesn’t event come over the treetops in the late Autumn, Winter or late Spring, see red
line on pic 5. I believe that these facts bring a valid argument for this request
 I appreciate there is no right to unbroken sunlight and I am not challenging this. I am simply
requesting some courtesy, care, compassion and compromise in a situation that doesn’t affect
anyone else, other than our household. Unless you lived in my house, it is difficult for anyone
to understand and appreciate the frustration and disappointment the disappearing sun brings
 I had previously asked for some compromise but none has ever been offered. If you read back
through our email conversations, you will see that from my 1st email, I have twice suggested
a new reduced height to be considered. I addressed that the agreed height retention might
have to be a bi-annual trim for which I would cover the cost of, subject to accepting the cost. I
had a tree surgeon look at this already and was quoted £280, however this was for the first
requested reduction and would have been more work that this current negotiation, so I expect
a lesser price to be a result of this.
I would ask that for any cost referencing and as per usual business practice, that there be 2 quotes to
ensure the choice is unbiased and impartial.