Environmental campaigners in Southampton are celebrating after Southampton City Airport lost its appeal to remove more than 100 trees from Marlhill Copse after the decision was announced this afternoon (November 29).
The appeal was heard on Wednesday, November 21, after Southampton City Council had previously rejected an application to fell the trees.
In rejecting the appeal, the planning inspector noted that the carriageway was used extensively and that felling the trees would substantially alter the character of the woodland.
The inspector wrote: “It’s initial appearance to users would undoubtedly be poorer and detrimental to their experience of walking under a tree canopy through woodland, as well as their overall wellbeing. Whilst replanting could eventually restore a woodland character to this area, this could easily take ten years or more to achieve any meaningful impact.”
The inspector also noted that the trees “are clearly visible from a number of vantage points within the northern part of the city and beyond. They can be considered to be part of a landmark, which is strikingly noticeable during winter because of the contrasting prominence of a number of the evergreen pines alongside their bare deciduous neighbours. The loss of these trees, at a single point in time, would fail to maintain the prominent stature of the skyline trees.”
The inspector added that felling the trees and replacing them with smaller species “would fail to secure the maintenance of the special character of the woodland or the woodland character of the area.”
Campaigner Councillor John Savage said: “I am really delighted that the local use of the woodland was recognised by the inspector, along with the sense of place which is so key to Marlhill copse. The airport had a seven person legal team on this countering all the points being made me and the two tree officers. It was a real battle and I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful to the local residents who came along to speak in support of the council.”
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Picture: Cllr John Savage who has campaigned to save the trees, with a tree marked for removal.
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