Trees make Derby garden ‘dark and gloomy’ but can’t be cut down

A dispute has broken out over a group of trees in Derby which are claimed to be ruining a homeowner’s garden. A resident of Littleover Lane in the Normanton area of the city has blasted a Derby City Council decision to give four trees facing their back garden special preservation orders.

The trees are located on land of the Littleover Allotment Association but are situated right next to the back garden of the homeowner’s house in Littleover Lane. Derby City Council says a decision was made to give the four trees a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in November last year. Any tree with a TPO means permission is required by the local authority before any work can be done to it.

Read more Derbyshire environmental stories

In a letter to the council the resident said: “We have recently been in discussion with the Allotment Association Committee regarding the trees as they are so tall that they block out the light into ours and our neighbour’s gardens. This makes the end of the gardens permanently damp and unusable.

“We only last month had to replace our shed and an area of decking that had rotted due to being in permanent shadow. The root structures of the trees are causing damage to our and our neighbours land and our boundary wall.”

Documents state that the council placed TPOs on the trees in question because of the interests of “public visual amenity”.

A council report into the dispute says: “The trees can be appreciated from the public realm and contribute materially to the amenities area by playing an important part in providing a sense of scale and maturity and by having a general ‘greening’ effect on the immediate area. “

But the unhappy resident does not believe there is public interest in the trees, claiming they are located on private land and are barely visible from the public realm.

The letter added: “You can get the barest of glimpses of the trees from between the houses. My understanding is that the LPA (Local Planning Authority) should be able to show that a reasonable degree of public benefit would accrue before TPOs are made or confirmed.

“The trees or at least some of them should therefore be visible from a public place. In this instance this is not the case.

“If the trees cannot be seen or are barely visible from a public place, a TPO might only be justified in exceptional circumstances. In this case we cannot see that there are any exceptional circumstances.”

At a planning meeting held on Thursday night, councillors voted to approve the TPOs.