Friday, 16 February 2018

Redevelopment of Village Hall - more work to do

Tree Officer still not happy

Background

You may like to refer back to my blog dated 3rd Sep 2017 where I examined the background to the decision to rebuild the Village Hall.

Following attendance at a Parish Council meeting on 12th September, I then provided comment on the withdrawal of the planning application in a blog dated 14 Sep 2017.

I have recently written another blog dated 10 Feb 2018, this time making reference to the protocol for the Parish Council's Extraordinary Meeting relating to 'Redevelopment of Nocton Village Hall'.

Proximity of root areas to the Village Hall

Current position

It is now apparent that despite the resubmission of the planning application [18/0073/FUL], the Tree Officer at North Kesteven District Council still has concerns about the plans. You can review his comments (reproduced below).

Tree Officer
Comment Date: Wed 14 Feb 2018
"Proposal still indicates further incursion into the RPAs (root protection areas) of trees with the establishment of an enlarged ramp. While it is noted that this may be constructed with mini piles etc I am still unconvinced that this will not result in further adversely implicating tree roots.
It is unclear why the side entrance cannot be used for access as discussed at a previous meeting.

Proposed foundations to the north are not above ground and only show a minor consideration to the nominal rooting area of T3. As already mentioned in meetings the rooting areas shown as circles are only considered to be indicative and take no account of the constraints on favourable rooting environments imposed by existing hard surfacing which is likely to result in more roots within the open areas of the proposal site.

There has been no submission of existing building foundation design and therefore no assessment of any potential increase in root loss/damage that may occur as a result on new foundation specifications.

Proposed foundations refer to increase of foundations due to tree root influence and potential ground heave. The existing trees predate the existing building so are highly unlikely to cause any soil movements beyond normal seasonal parameters. Regardless of this there appears to be no investigation of the underlying soils that would show soil structure, plasticity and potential for any tree influence or the need for noted foundations."

Future

If I thought there were difficult issues to be addressed back in Sep 2017, it now seems the plan to increase the footprint of the Village Hall might be a major problem, taking into account the constraints imposed by the protected lime trees.

It is commendable that the Parish Council has doggedly maintained their ambition for a larger brand-new redevelopment of the Village Hall, but if planning permission fails to be obtained for a second time, there will be a valid question as to whether this stance should be maintained.

It therefore remains to be seen whether the difficulties highlighted by the Tree Officer can be overcome... and if not what the remaining options might be for improving Nocton Village Hall.

Worth saving

For the chop: the battle to save Sheffield’s trees

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