Keeping Hedge End an attractive place to live is a bit of a never ending battle. The Highways and Planning Committee looks at all planning applications that affect Hedge End on behalf of the Town Council.
Last week's meeting received notification of Tree Preservation Orders affecting trees at the Village Hall and in the woodland between Chalice Court and Mallow Road. I find it interesting that the Borough Council has a policy of devolving management of green spaces to the Town Council, but then finds it necessary to apply TPOs which weren't necessary when the Borough were in charge. It's as if they think the Town Council is waiting to take a chainsaw to all those trees as soon as they are in charge.
The TPO at the Village Hall is a material and significant change in the debate about whether to fell the laburnum tree which was reported in the local press back on May 5th. The Town Council does not have jurisdiction over that tree, but there has been some confusion as the recently elected chair of the Council is also treasurer to the Village Hall Management Committee.
In order to try and reduce the confusion I have submitted a motion to next week's council which, if the Lib Dem majority support it, would urge the Village Hall and Pre-School to find another solution which does not involve cutting down the tree.
Getting back to the H&P meeting, most of the planning applications reviewed were considered to be uncontroversial (mainly improvements to existing homes), but the committee has raised an objection to an application from the Interios store on Charles Watts Way for a number of large, new signs which were felt to be too intrusive.
The question now is will the officers at Eastleigh who have the delegated decision give sufficient weight to the local council's objection, and if they do, will the government inspector uphold the inevitable appeal?