Half of La Pointe field trees could be saved

THE value of trees again permeated the latest planning case on La Pointe in the Vale.

It is the second tribunal hearing appeal on the site, also known as ‘triangle field’, with yesterday’s appeal against the refusal of planning permission to build six houses on the site.

Representatives of the appellant, Hillstone Guernsey Ltd, who bought the land in 2018 for £420,000, acknowledged the value of the trees, which are situated opposite the entrance to the Alliance along Braye Road, and said they had always agreed to maintain, keep and even replace those that would be removed.

However, representatives from the DPA, who have refused three housing proposals for the site so far, said the loss of trees that created neighbourhood ‘intimacy’ along Les Mares Pellees remained a determining factor in their refusal.

Last month’s appeal against the Tree Protection Order on 46 trees was halved to 23 trees on the site.

Planning director Jim Rowles confirmed the key issue in rejecting the proposal was due to the ‘substantial’ loss of trees that would impact on the landscape character and distinctiveness of the area: ‘It is recognised by the Authority that the appellant has acknowledged the importance of the trees and have undertaken considerable work to consider this and the potential benefits to extend the amenity afforded by the trees into the future,’ he said.

‘However, the Authority would respectfully contend that the efforts made will be less than wholly successful, particularly in relation to Les Mares Pellees.’

He said the developers’ proposals to replace them would still result in areas punctuated by vehicle access points to the houses, in addition to the fact that replacement trees would take a while to grow.

While the addition of a footpath along Les Mares Pellees would be a benefit, he said it would be outweighed by the loss of trees.

The appellant’s architectural advisor to the project, Andrew Ozanne, advised that their plans were an ‘ecological sustainable solution’ and had been supported by La Societe land management and conservation officer Jamie Hooper.

Site owner Simon Holland said their plans met policies and requirements and hoped the appeal would swing in their favour. He said it would benefit infrastructure, the economy and the island’s need for housing.

‘The process that has led to this appeal today has gone through many levels of scrutiny,’ he said.

‘As such, we are surely looking for a long-term solution to protect the landscape that has been deemed so important by all concerned.

‘Surely after all this time we are not prepared to accept the short-sighted short-term solution – we have the opportunity to enhance, protect and preserve.’

He said the TPO was the only thing stopping approval for the plans, but advised that he remained ‘open-minded’ and would accept any additional conditions, such as for sightlines.

The three proposals that have been rejected so far, include one for eight houses, followed by the six-house scheme and, most recently, for two houses on the triangular field. The proposal in this appeal, was to build four three-bedroom houses and two two-bed houses, along with four vehicle accesses made – three new, one existing – onto Les Mares Pellees.

Plans would have a number of existing trees along the north west site boundary adjacent to Les Mares Pellees, removed. Plus they would also include a widening of Braye Road junction, to improve the sight lines for exiting cars, install a bus stop, located back from the pavement edge and install a footpath to Mares Pellees Lane to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

There were 45 letters and emails of objection to the plans, which were rejected in March, as well as objections from States deputies.

A decision on the appeal is expected in two to three weeks.

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