Village property owner fined for chopping down historic trees

The historic yew trees visible in the grounds of the property in Main Street, Great DalbyThe historic yew trees visible in the grounds of the property in Main Street, Great Dalby
The historic yew trees visible in the grounds of the property in Main Street, Great Dalby
A village property owner has been left with a court bill of thousands of pounds after chopping down two historic trees without permission from the council.

The yew trees were an original feature of the front garden of a former chapel in Main Street, Great Dalby, where a planning application has been submitted for conversion into a residential house.

The owner admitted removing the trees in a protected conservation area without consent from Melton Borough Council when appearing at Leicester Magistrates Court.

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They were were fined £500 per tree, plus a surcharge of £400, and ordered to pay £1,000 in court costs.

The matter was first reported by a concerned local resident, prompting the borough council to investigate, with technical support from Leicestershire County Council.

Councillor Alison Freer, the borough council’s portfolio holder for climate, access, and engagement, said: “We are satisfied with the outcome of this successful prosecution.

"We take enforcement matters very seriously as they impact on the local, natural environment and history of the borough.

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"We are keen to uphold and promote a robust but fair planning enforcement regime to ensure people are not flouting the planning rules and damaging the borough.

"We will continue to take action when these are being breached and encourage people to seek planning advice before going ahead with work, otherwise they risk criminal proceedings or other action.”

Conservation areas exist to manage and protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place - in this case, the features which make Great Dalby unique.

Trees often make an important contribution to the character of the areas and are therefore given special protection within a conservation area, which was the reasoning for the case to be followed up.

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The council say the hearing is a warning to residents who intend on doing works to land or property that they should follow the planning rules that are in place.

Click HERE for more information on whether work requires permission – advice should be sought from the council.

Residents concerned about work being down to a property can email www.melton.gov.uk/planningenforcement to report it to the council.