Thursday, 27 July 2017

AI’s site access plans still have a major problem

Aggregate Industries has now had a chance to redraw its access plans onto the B3174 Exeter Road, to avoid the use of third party land, but, buried in the rash of new documents delivered this week, it’s clear the company still has problems.

Because the law of the land is that you can’t go around damaging other people’s property.

AI is relying on Birdcage Lane to access Straitgate Farm. It is also relying on felling 'Trees F, G and H' to do so - see the "photomontage" in the post below. The problem for AI is that Tree H - shown above - belongs to a third party. In SLR's "Landscape related matters" we find out that:
Devon County Council Highways have confirmed that they would not accept a “no dig” construction, due to HGV vehicles that will be using the road to access the proposed development… The “no dig” construction means that the works will potentially interfere with the root protection areas of Trees F, G and H and some of G15A as illustrated by Drawing R22/L/3-3-005 and it is likely they will be damaged by the development and need to be felled. 4.1
It’s bad enough that Trees F and G, two 20m English Oaks, would be lost.

But AI needs Tree H to be felled too. Very predictably therefore, AI’s consultants claim that "Tree H, an 18m high English Oak is already in a poor condition and it is recommended it is felled by the owner on the grounds of health and safety". Of course they would say that. But that’s for its owners to decide.

And, whilst AI’s own trees have been falling down along Birdcage Lane, this tree has caused no problems and will be good for another few decades yet, judging by yesterday's photograph.

In its Reg22 request DCC said:
If the applicant wishes to construct works within the highway that may impact on the neighbouring landowners assets (i.e. the mature oak tree) then the road construction must accord with BS 5837 and the applicant must indemnify the Highway Authority against any claims from the landowner regarding damage to the tree.
BS5837? "... a logical sequence of events that has tree care at the heart of the process":
To avoid damage to tree roots, existing ground levels should be retained within the RPA. Intrusion into soil (other than for piling) within the RPA is generally not acceptable, and topsoil within it should be retained in situ. 7.2.1
So, yet again, we are presented with a proposal that cannot be delivered without the consent of a third party. The views of this third party have been made perfectly clear already - on the ground and to DCC.