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Developer’s hedge-removal blunder in Warkworth

The site plan for Guilden Place in Warkworth. Picture from Cussins.
The site plan for Guilden Place in Warkworth. Picture from Cussins.

A housebuilder mistakenly removed almost 200 metres of hedgerow, contrary to the planning permission for 50 homes in a north Northumberland village.

Approval was given for the new development, Guilden Place in Warkworth, in November 2016. The site, on land south of West Close, off Guilden Road, is currently under construction with some homes being occupied.

But Warkworth Parish Council flagged up that developer Cussins has incorrectly removed hedgerow and landscaping to the northern boundary of the site.

Overall, 172 metres of the total 284-metre length of planting along this boundary was taken out.

Work was subsequently stopped on site when this was highlighted to Cussins, leaving a 112-metre section of hedge and planting to the western section of this boundary.

It was the result of an error by the applicant in that the hedgerow did not actually sit on the boundary with neighbouring properties as identified on the plans, but up to six-and-a-half metres off.

Now, the North Northumberland Local Area Council is being asked to approve amended landscaping plans for the development at its meeting on Thursday (July 19).

The report to councillors explains that it ‘is clearly regrettable and unfortunate that the existing planting to the northern boundary has been largely removed during the course of development’.

However, it recommends approving the changes as ‘it is officer opinion that the proposed landscaping scheme would be acceptable as a way of mitigating the loss of the previous vegetation.

‘In addition, the proposed revisions to the boundary treatments would ensure that the landscaping buffer to the north and western boundaries would be separated from the more domestic garden areas so that they can become established as a landscape and wildlife corridor, which is an improvement from the approved scheme’.

The replacement planting has been discussed with the council’s ecologist and planning officers and will feature the following shrubs in the northern buffer area – 100 hazel, 210 thorn, 100 holly, 210 blackthorn and 100 guelder rose.

New tree planting along the northern boundary will comprise 28 thorn, 21 rowan and 17 crab apple.

By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service