Council in talks to save Ashlawn Road oak tree
PLANNING officers at Rugby Borough Council have started talks with developer David Wilson Homes and Warwickshire County Council in a bid to save a century-old oak tree in Ashlawn Road.
The oak tree was earmarked for removal in a 'reserved matters' planning application submitted by David Wilson Homes, which was approved at a meeting of the council's planning committee earlier this month.
But after members of the committee raised concerns over the loss of the oak tree, planning officers approached the housing developer and county council highways chiefs following the meeting to try and secure the oak's future.
And Cllr Howard Roberts, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said both David Wilson Homes and the county council had committed to explore all options to save the tree.
"A number of planning committee members expressed concerns about the loss of this mature oak, concerns which I know have been shared by a number of residents," Cllr Roberts added.
"Initial talks have shown a genuine desire by all parties to try and find a solution to the problem, and detailed discussions now look set to take place in the New Year."
David Wilson Homes secured outline planning permission on appeal in July 2017 for a 860 home development in Ashlawn Road.
The reserved matters planning application for the development's proposed infrastructure included the removal of the oak tree in order to create a footpath and cycleway.
And while the footpath and cycleway remain part of the approved plans, along with the removal of the tree, Cllr Sebastian Lowe, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said he was heartened by the positive response to the council's request to review the plans in a bid to retain the oak tree.
Cllr Lowe said: "Rugby Borough Council has long-prided itself on being a truly 'green' local authority and has taken a lead on tree-planting, working with the Woodland Trust to create Diamond Wood in the Rainsbrook Valley in 2013 and planting 25,000 trees across the borough two years ago after securing a grant from Natural England.
"While a solution to saving the oak tree in Ashlawn Road remains some way off, all parties have expressed a determination to try and find a solution, and we look forward to further discussions next month."