Hope that decision puts an end to years of tree fears

Trees in Felton next to the Northumberland Arms.
Trees in Felton next to the Northumberland Arms.

A councillor has welcomed the decision to protect trees in a north Northumberland village, which he hopes will end a long-running saga.

At the January meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee, members agreed to a tree preservation order for an area of woodland on land to the south and east of the Northumberland Arms in West Thirston.

Planning officers felt that the trees ‘contribute to the amenity of the area and form part of a wooded entrance into the villages of Thirston and Felton that is considered worthy of protection’.

However, the land-owner disagreed, saying that the trees are already protected due to the conservation area and claiming that a survey had revealed most of the trees are not worthy of protection.

Chairman Coun John Taylor called the application a ‘proper one’ due to the ‘sylvan nature of the Coquet’.

The issue of these trees has been a controversial one in both Thirston and Felton over recent years, with the situation coming to a head in 2011 when an application was made for three holiday tree lodges.

More than 50 people turned out to object at an extraordinary joint meeting of both villages’ parish councils in August that year and the scheme was turned down in summer 2012. A subsequent appeal was dismissed in June last year.

Following the committee’s decision, Coun Glen Sanderson, whose Longhorsley ward contains Thirston, said that the issue had been highly contentious for some time.

“The fact it went through was very gratifying and comes as a huge relief to me and many residents living in Thirston and Felton,” he said. “Hopefully this will see an end to all the difficulties and hopefully this will be the end of the matter.”