A LANDOWNER who cleared trees near his home to get a better view of the historic Chirk Aqueduct has been ordered to grow them back.
The owner spent £20,000 on a parcel of land off Castle Road, Chirk, to clear trees obscuring the view from his home – only to be told the trees were not allowed to be cut down.
Wrexham Council placed a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) following the felling of 40 per cent of the woodland.
Later the authority received a letter of objection from the disappointed owner and a letter of support from a neighbour.
Members of Wrexham Council’s planning committee decided to uphold the TPO at its meeting on Monday.
But Chirk South councillor Terry Evans said the TPO was unnecessary, and asked for a deferment in order for the Chirk Community Forum to establish a woodland management plan instead.
He told the meeting: “There are no fancy oaks or anything with great girth.
“They’re just stick-like trees, which blow down in the winter anyway.
“If this goes through it will have a big impact on the World Heritage Site.”
Minera councillor David Kelly added: “I don’t see that imposing a Tree Preservation Order will ensure the woodland is properly managed in the future.
“We’re doing nothing to maintain the vistas when we’re allowing unmanaged woodland to exist.”
The TPO was placed in July last year.
In his letter to the council, the landowner said he felled the trees to improve his views of the aqueduct and viaduct and that the TPO restricted his right to a view.
The council replied: “In British common law there is no such thing as a legal right to view.
“The protection of the existing trees and the regrowth from the felled stumps, thus the protection of the World Heritage Site, is deemed in this case to be of greater importance than one individual’s view of the viaduct from their dwelling.”
Planning officer David Watson told the meeting: “He (the landowner) fully accepts that he chopped them down in order to let more light into his property and enable him to have a better view.”
To Cllr Evans, he said: “I can’t see that any of your objectives will be hampered by a TPO. It protects the trees. If you’re looking to do some pruning and thinning, then a tree officer would be happy to discuss that.”
At the time the felling, which was within the World Heritage buffer zone, was investigated by the Forestry Commission, but no prosecution or restocking order was made.
The TPO will allow the woodland to regrow over time.