Getting to the roots of the problem.

The felling of three fir trees at the bottom end of  Bath’s Gravel Walk has drawn a few comments from people who felt it a shame that so much tree cover had been lost.

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Looking through to the back of the Gay Street terrace from Gravel Walk.

The pathway up to the Royal Crescent – made famous by Jane Austen in her novel Persuasion – is lined with mature trees on both sides.

This spot is part of the city’s conservation area – and trees cannot be felled without due notice and appraisal by the Council – but in this case the application from the owner of the house in Gay Street – and in whose garden the trees were – produced an aboricultural appraisal report to show that the tree roots appear to be contributing to cracking to a Grade 1 listed summer house in a neighbour’s garden.

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The 60 foot high fir trees in a photograph supplied with the application.

There was also movement being caused to garden walls and the obvious garden shade created by leylandii that had grown to sixty feet.

I wondered whether trees in general in the area of the Gravel Walk and nearby Royal Victoria Park were subject to any individual preservation orders.

Jane Brewer – who is Senior Aboricultural Officer for B&NES – told me that trees in a Conservation Area could not be felled without notification.

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Another view of the trees in a photograph supplied with the application.

‘The three trees felled in Gravel Walk were considered for a Tree Preservation Order prior to their removal.

You may have noted that the submissions included as part of the notification indicated that the trees were also implicated in damage to a summerhouse in third party ownership.

The majority of large trees growing in the areas which you refer to are Council owned trees and are not considered to be under threat because we have appropriate professionals to manage our tree population.”

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Tree stumps are all that now remains.

Obviously permission was granted to fell these three firs but l did take note that, in their decision to allow the application, the Council stated: “Trees in conservation areas contribute significantly to the green infrastructure, replacement planting when trees are felled (particularly with the use of native species) can make a real difference to the amenity of an area, please contact the tree officer if you would like some advice regarding replacement planting.”

I – personally – hope the owner takes their advice.