Joy as trees spared the axe
Residents say they are delighted a landowner has been refused permission to cut down trees on a patch of city woodland.
Some householders in the Stoneygate conservation area had opposed an application to fell trees on land along London Road, where it meets Ratcliffe Road.
The owner, Richard Riley, of Groby, had applied to remove all sycamore and ash saplings from the central area of the half-acre site.
But planning officials at Leicester City Council turned down the application, on the grounds that the trees benefit the area.
Residents' spokesman James Monk, 92, who lives in Wallace Court, London Road, opposite the land, said: "I, and others in this building, live directly opposite the spinney and want it to remain just that – a spinney.
"As soon as we heard about this latest application we had to oppose it. The place is a beautiful little haven for lots of wildlife and is a much-appreciated green oasis."
The trees on the site are protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which is why permission is needed to carry out works on them.
Mr Monk said he and other residents feared the application could have led the way to the site being cleared, which in turn could have led to a planning application to build on the land.
Planning records show Mr Riley previously put in applications to build a house on the land, one in January last year, which was withdrawn, and one in January 2010, which was also withdrawn.
Mr Riley, a planning officer at the city council, told the Mercury he wanted to carry out work on the trees in order to manage the land properly.
"If you treat it as woodland and let it grow out of control it will just be overgrown by the non-native shrubs," he said.
"Nothing I'm wanting to chop down has a trunk more than 20cm in diameter and I'm just trying to get the site how it was back when it was part of the Knighton House estate."
An application by Mr Riley to do cutting in the central area of the woodland was also rejected. But the planning officers did agree to allow him to carry out other works.
Mr Riley can fell a dead elm tree as long as he plants a replacement tree, and can prune trees to create clearance on London Road and Ratcliffe Road.
Mike Richardson, head of planning at the city council, said there was a mix of broadleaf and evergreen trees on the site which include oak, lime, yew, hawthorn, ash and holly.
"The trees on this site do contribute to the amenity of the area," he said.