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RE: Misguided Insistence of Planners

Subject: RE: Misguided Insistence of Planners
From: Addison, Gilbert
Date: Mar 26 2008 13:56:56
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I think that's a fair appraisal Chris. We have a "presumption in favour
of native species" but it's by no means set in stone. Their are two
important issues involved in addition to the alleged "fine art of
landscape design" (tomorrow's chocolate box today) apparently proposed
by some. One is "local distinctiveness" which we are encouraged to
promote to give people well-being through a sense of place. Local
distinctiveness operates at more than one scale and it could be argued
that it extends to the national scale. What is the wonder of seeing the
arboreal assemblages of other countries if you are already well familiar
with all the components at home? The second is the promotion of
biodiversity; there is no doubt that so many exotic tree species look
great in UK is because we don't have the insects and micro-organisms
that normally predate them where they come from. I'm not sure that the
landscape should be seen as a canvas for visual designers.


Gilbert Addison | Tree and Countryside Officer |Breckland Council
Office: 01362 656873 Fax: 01362 656297 
DDI:   01362 656243 | Mobile: na
Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham NR19 1EE

gilbert.addison@xxxxxxxxxx.gov.uk |www.breckland.gov.uk

 

 

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Hastie [mailto:Chris.Hastie@xxxxxxxxxx.gov.uk] 
Sent: 26 March 2008 13:06
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: RE: Misguided Insistence of Planners

______________________________________________________________________
     SPRING 2008 TRAINING FROM QUANTIFIED TREE RISK ASSESSMENT LTD.

           QTRA Licensed User Training Workshops (Spring 2008)
 9 Apr, York;   10 Apr Cambridge;   17 Apr, Guildford;   06 May, Exeter

Licensed User(existing)Update Workshops-23 Apr, York; 15 May, Guildford
   For further information please visit our website at www.qtra.co.uk
______________________________________________________________________
Reply interwoven with original for context.
On 26 March 2008 12:17, Clive Mayhew wrote:

Following a recent conversation with a colleague, I invited him to put

his gripes in writing - see below. Are there any of those misguided 
planners out there who can defend this native insistence I wonder?

In my view, there is no place for being dogmatic in the insistence on
natives. Many exotics have a very useful role to play as amenity trees,
and indeed in helping to 'climate proof' the landscape.

However, I see far too many landscaping schemes where it is quite
obvious that the person drawing up the scheme has never been on site.
Schemes that take no cues from the surrounding landscape and do not
relate to it in any way whatsoever. This is the sort of thing that
should be being rejected by planners.

I also see too many schemes where landscaping is an afterthought.
Landscaping should be an integral part of the design of a scheme, not a
bolt on at the end. It should relate well to the building and the
building should relate well to it.

The absolute insistence on natives may be misguided, but I would argue
that it is legitimate to place some stress on natives. The biodiversity
benefits of native planting are significant and there are clear hooks in
PPS9 for the development of Plan policies that promote biodiversity.
Whether or not a planner can legally influence the mix of species is
going to come down to the existence of Plan policies that address these
points. Whilst we don't have a plan policy that says "Development will
only be permitted if it is surrounded by a mixed native hedgerow", we do
have policies relating to enhancing local ecology, protecting and
enhancing the landscape character of the area and providing appropriate
levels of amenity space which incorporate suitable habitat features. All
of these can be used to justify a strong native element to planting. For
the rural areas, we also have detailed landscape guidelines based on
landscape character assessments that have been adopted as SPG and
remains 'retained' as SPG in our Local Development Scheme.

Another point I would make is that I see little benefit in an LPA
flexing its muscles over the shrub bed in a domestic back garden. The
control that the LPA can exercise over this in the long term is minimal,
and if it were not the interference with one resident's freedom would be
excessive in relation to the benefits. An LPA's concern with landscaping
should be limited to structural planting and adoptable POS or highways.

If an imaginative scheme that related well to the surroundings and the
development itself came to me, I would not reject it on the basis of too
few natives. The sad reality is, though, that the schemes I see are
rarely anything approaching imaginative. A relative of mine has recently
started work in a practice preparing landscaping schemes. Apparently, he
never goes out on site. The second question should be turned back to the
landscape profession: "How are we to engender a renewed interest in a
wider planting brief and arrest the "dumbing-down" of our landscape?"

--

Chris Hastie
Strategy Officer (Arboriculture)
Warwick District Council

Looking for a tree surgeon? Visit
http://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/cya

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