Decision due on plans for land where protected trees were felled
A row over plans to build a house on land where protected trees were damaged and felled could be settled by councillors next week.
The land owner Bulent Ekinci said that more trees would be planted than lost on the plot, next to a property known as Hillside, in Ovingdean Road, Brighton.
Mr Ekinci, who runs the Meeting Place café on Hove seafront, has submitted detailed proposals for a new five-bedroom house on the empty plot along with revised landscaping plans.
His initial proposal went before Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee in October but the discussion was overshadowed by concerns about the trees there.
The committee deferred a decision on his planning application so that they could be given more details.
Since then, councillors have visited the site with Mr Ekinci’s agent Umut Kilic and the council’s tree officer Paul Davey.
Mr Ekinci, 48, submitted the detailed plans in the name of his company Black Homes. He wants to build a two-storey detached house on the plot which is by a bend in the road.
The council granted outline planning permission for a house in 2019 – and last month Mr Ekinci submitted landscaping plans for the trees and plants on the site.
If the Planning Committee accepts the advice of officials and approves the application next Wednesday (1 February), Mr Ekinci would be required to follow a planting scheme once the building was occupied.
Any damaged or diseased plants or trees would have to be replaced with others of a “similar size and species” within the first five years after the building was complete.
In October, councillors were told that protected trees on the site had been damaged during clearance work carried out on Monday 11 July.
Council planning manager Nicola Hurley told the Planning Committee that seven protected trees were “unlawfully felled” and a further 23 “irreversibly damaged” by chainsaws.
She later said that four trees had been felled and 21 damaged, all or mostly sycamores, after comments made by the council’s arboriculturist – or tree expert.
Independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh, who represents Rottingdean Coastal ward, which includes Ovingdedan, backed residents who objected to the plans.
Councillor Fishleigh told the Planning Committee that the council’s arboricultural and legal teams had a last-minute meeting with planning officials to discuss the protected trees.
After the site visit and the new landscaping plan, council arboriculturist Paul Davey said that the proposals were an “acceptable mitigation” for the loss of current trees.
Mr Ekinci’s agent said: “Trees proposed to be planted on site will be more than the ones to be lost. Also, all preserved and newly planted trees will be protected with a TPO (tree preservation order).
“(The) type of trees and plants proposed have been chosen taking (the) council’s tree officer’s and planner’s comments into account.
“The applicant worked in collaboration with the council and has produced a positive proposal for the environment.”
The Planning Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 2pm on Wednesday 1 February. The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.
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Is Mr Ekinci”s agent saying that the trees planted to replace the protected trees that had been chopped down would be protected so they won’t be chopped down ?