Planting scheme is not good news

Following the success of the Rocklands appeal which allows the bunker to remain with minor modifications, an application for a discharge of conditions has been posted.

The application includes a planting scheme. It is not good news.

The planting scheme ignores the recommendations for planting and screening imposed by the planning inspector at the appeal.

A mere three 10cm oak trees are to be planted in the north east corner - these are intended to screen the building from within the caravan park, and do not screen the building from the scheduled ancient monument (SAM) and Ecclesbourne Glen at all.

No attempt has been made to plant any screening to reduce the visual impact of the building from the East Hill and Ecclesbourne Glen.

There are no plans to increase the tree screening on the south west boundary (East Hill side) of the new property as it is stated that it would be inappropriate in the location of the SAM.

The proposal is to let some tiny existing holly sticks planted in 2014 mature. SEG has been advised by a specialist that the holly sticks will never grow enough to screen the building and they will never be afforded TPO protection.

The proposed scheme will not screen the new building from the East Hill and Country Park at all. The planting scheme is a travesty and flies in the face of the Appeal Inspector’s intentions to increase screening around the building with the use of semi-mature plantings.

The planting scheme proposes even less screening than the planting scheme approved back in early 2013.

If the planting scheme is approved then the very last chance to protect the East Hill and Ecclesbourne Glen from the visual impact of the bunker will be lost. It remains to be seen whether HBC will finally step up and take their responsibility to protect the Country Park seriously by insisting on a comprehensive replanting scheme.

The application is not open for comment by members of the public.

If you are concerned about this then please write now to your councillors. Once this application is discharged then the visual amenity of the East Hill and Ecclesbourne Glen will be lost for good.

The application can be seen at http://publicaccess.hastings.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.

Chris Hurrell

On behalf of Save Ecclesbourne Glen Campaign Group

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