Local authorities have the responsibility to designate conservation areas, defined in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as 'an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'.
Trees often contribute to the character and appearance of the area and are afforded a level of legal protection.
Stratford-on-Avon District currently contains 75 designated conservation areas.
Yes, you must notify the council if you wish to undertake pruning works or fell a tree. It is not a formal application as such, but you must provide the council with six weeks' notice of your intention to undertake works to a tree in a conservation area. You can use the same form used to seek consent to work on trees the subject of a TPO.
You do not need to give notice of work to a tree located in a conservation area if it measures less than 75mm in stem diameter when measured 1.5m above ground level.
If a tree is located within a conservation area and is subject to a Tree Preservation Order then normal TPO procedures apply. You must submit an application form with supporting information and obtain consent prior to undertaking works to the tree.
If we are content with the details within the notice, you will receive a letter confirming that your notice is acceptable for registration and that the process will take six weeks. If the detail within the notification is not clear or very specific, we may contact you to clarify your proposed works before registering your notification.
The six weeks allows the council to assess your notification and make a decision as to whether or not we agree with your proposals. We will consult the local parish council and the local ward members. If you do not receive a notice of decision within the six week period, you are then legally entitled to carry out the works specified in your notice. If we disagree with your proposals and consider that the tree is of significant public amenity value, we may make the tree the subject of a Tree Preservation Order or ask that you either change your proposals or withdraw your notification.
If you get consent for the works, then this consent will be valid for two years from the date of the planning authority's notice of decision letter.
If you deliberately destroy a tree, or damage it in a manner likely to destroy it, you could be liable to an unlimited fine up to £20,000 per tree. You may also be fined if you cause or permit such work. If you undertake work to a tree without consent but this does not result in the destruction of the tree, then you could be fined up to £2,500. In determining the amount of the fine, the magistrates' court will take into account any financial benefit arising from the offence.
You will normally have to plant a replacement tree if it was cut down or destroyed.
If you wish to seek pre-notification advice, please go to our pre-application advice page.