Bid to protect trees on former Alnwick school site set for the green light

An application seeking protection for more than 200 trees on a former Alnwick school site is poised for the green light.

Alnwick Town Council has made a request for a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to be made on 204 lime trees within the grounds of the former Duke’s School.

It is concerned the trees are at risk of removal because of Northumberland Estates’ planned conversion of the old school into 27 apartments plus the construction of 22 houses and bungalows, and a two-storey block of 49 retirement flats.

The scheme was supported by Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee in August, although final approval is subject to the completion of a section 106 legal agreement.

Cllr Martin Swinbank of Alnwick Town Council is supporting a bid for a tree preservation order at the former Duke's School site.

Cllr Martin Swinbank, chairman of the town council’s planning committee, said: "The field falls outside of the Alnwick Conservation Area and now that it is no longer a school, looked after by Northumberland County Council, they are potentially at risk.

"These trees provide a rich habitat for animals, birds and insects. They have also been a integral part of the beauty of this part of our town for generations and should be protected long into the future.”

The request is being recommended for approval by the North Northumberland Local Area Council planning committee on Thursday, November 19.

However, Northumberland Estates has queried the requirement for the TPO, pointing out the planning approval is subject to conditions requiring the development is carried out in accordance with plans which show the trees left in place.

A report to councillors states: “It is noted by officers that there is a set of approved plans, including a landscape plan and also a separate Section 106 agreement that contains conditions regarding the removal of trees from the site.

"However, this does not preclude the council from creating a TPO. A long-term view is being taken and following development of the site the trees will remain an important feature within the landscape and without a tree preservation order there would be no mechanism by which the retention and proper management of these trees could be safeguarded.

"The trees on this site are worthy of protection... as they are an intrinsic feature within the landscape.”

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