A DEVELOPER says it had to chop down a ‘heavily diseased’ tree in Penketh on health and safety grounds after a parish councillor was left ‘deeply disappointed’.

In July, Folde Properties applied to vary the conditions over its approved plans for six apartments at the junction of Stocks Lane and Warrington Road.

After the tree was removed from the land, parish councillor Craig Lenihan asked Warrington Borough Council (WBC) to seek to ensure a tree of a similar style and size is ‘unconditionally restored to the location at once’ to the cost of the applicant or contractor.

He said: “After being contacted by a concerned resident I am deeply disappointed that the first action taken on the land opposite The Crown & Cushion is the removal of the only tree in the vicinity.

“After reviewing Land Registry drawings submitted in both the original and variation applications submitted to WBC, it very much looks like the tree may not be part of the plot in question, indeed their own proposed drawings show the tree in front of their boundary line.”

WBC has issued a statement on the matter.

A spokesman said: “Planning permission was approved in September 2018 for the construction of a block of six apartments on land at the junction of Stocks Lane and Warrington Road, Penketh.

“As part of the development the sycamore tree on the western boundary of the site was shown as being retained.

“An application to vary the conditions on the planning permission was submitted in July 2019.

“This application also showed the sycamore tree as being retained as part of the new development.

“After receiving calls from concerned residents within the past few days, the council has contacted the site developer to discuss the tree removal to ascertain the reasons why it has been removed and proposals for replacement planting.”

Dominic Jude, managing director of Emerald Bay Construction, said he has sent a letter out to the parish council, on behalf of Folde Properties. It will also be posted to people living close to the site.

He says the tree had to be removed on the grounds of health and safety as, according to a tree surgeon, it was ‘heavily diseased’.

But the letters aims to ‘reassure’ residents it will be replaced, along with additional planting.

Mr Jude said: “Property development often naturally unsettles the community, so this letter is to reassure you that works have begun and are progressing to timescales to minimise disruption.

“Our long-term view is to retain ownership of the development as rental properties.

“As such, we will enhance the area and maintain it as quality rental housing.

“We have already worked on a landscape design for the new development, which includes indigenous trees and planting.

“It is also worth noting at this point that our solicitor has identified a WBC lamppost and sign on our land.

“We will of course be in touch with WBC to see how we can work together to ensure these items are resolved.”