We did it! We have successfully raised £12,042 on our Crowdfunder, with 321 supporters in 21 days, thank you to the residents of Wellingborough and to all of the people who have donated to support our legal action. This shows that the people of Wellingborough believe that the felling of the trees on The Walks is unlawful (as the trees are protected by a Tree Preservation Order from 2016).
The developer and North Northants Council have previously argued that the developer’s work is exempt from the TPO rules and that they can fell the trees legally. We have sought legal advice and we believe the exemption the Developer is relying on does not apply and as a result the felling is unlawful and they are committing a criminal offence.
North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) have released a number of documents and a statement, reasserting Vistry’s ‘right’ to fell the protected trees on the Wellingborough Walks under an exemption to do with Vistry having full planning permission gained following the approval in Feb 2017 of the s73 planning variation. The statement does also include a link to planning documents that gives us a four month reprieve for the trees.
The Council, in the person of Leader Jason Smithers, then said at the Full Council Meeting on the 30th March, in response to John Gilyead’s question about meeting with Vistry, that NNC would welcome a new variation application from Vistry, but that he did not see that NNC has a role to enable that. NNC did back a motion to protect Tree Preservation Order trees in new planning applications.
In the latest statement from Vistry (Stanton Cross LLP – Monday 3rd April) they are saying many things following the exhibition on 23rd March, including that they “are looking at alternatives and will make proposals to NNC to try and save as many trees as possible,” but that they still proposing to cut down up to 46 of the trees, that means 31 more lime trees on The Walks are at risk.
We have written to both the developer and council, and have a meeting planned with the developer to discuss ways to save our trees. Failing this we see that the only way we can stop this is to take the case to court and seek an injunction to permanently stop the tree felling for good. This is what we plan to do should other attempts fail, and why we need your help to raise the funds to do this.
We have set up a limited company to facilitate this and have instructed solicitors to take the legal action needed. We have four months to save the limes trees on The Walks, thanks to the bird’s nesting season; and thanks to your kind donations and support, we will do everything we can to save their homes permanently, SAVE OUR TREES!