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Bonkers Blog March 2017

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16 March - Losing it

I think I may be losing the plot, this morning I wished the man with an Irish accent working on the Wilton Road regeneration project a Happy St. David’s Day and yesterday I didn’t go to the General Purposes Committee meeting because I was convinced it was to be held this evening.

Having read the Agenda and heard John Watson’s report on it I don’t think I missed a lot. The Committee was debating; a tree preservation order (TPO) and new Bexley Council staff conditions.

John’s report is complimentary about Chairman Cafer Munur (Conservative, East Wickham) but fails to say if the tree preservation order was upheld or not. I gather that Councillor Deadman (Labour, North End) objected to adoption of the new staffing conditions on the grounds that the unions had been given insufficient notice and one none at all. He managed to secure a review in six months time.

TreeI have a personal interest in tree preservation orders. In December 1975 I moved into a new house and found I couldn’t open an upstairs window because a beech tree branch obstructed it. The builder said that the Council had slapped a TPO on it and they couldn’t trim it.

No TPO had shown up on the searches because the Council had craftily passed it late in the day. On five beeches, a lime and a horse chestnut in what was quite a large garden.

The arborilogical officer at the County Council in Winchester proved to be a useful ally and declared the beeches and the lime in too poor a condition to legally be made subject to a TPO and he ruled it invalid, so I took the trees down. Actually I only stripped the branches from one before deciding that sitting on a high branch with a hand saw was a good way of killing oneself. I did a deal with a timber merchant that he took the others down in return for free hardwood. Do they still do that?

The Council was not happy and insisted I replaced them. They fought a long rearguard action suggesting they had granted permission for the trees to be cut down and could therefore insist on a replacement. Fortunately I had the County Council’s letter which said the TPO never existed, it was null and void as if it never existed.

I haven’t spent all my life fighting crooked Councils - honest!


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