Parents cut back Northumberland school trees to try and combat bird poo problem - petsitterbank

Parents cut back Northumberland school trees to try and combat bird poo problem

The trees which, according to parents, were attracting too many birds which were blighting their properties with poo.

Neighbors near Holywell Village First School decided to take matters into their own hands after the trees were left unmaintained.

However, Northumberland County Council has now chosen to act over concerns the maintainence work wasn’t being carried out properly, and was in fact causing more harm than good to the nine trees; eight of which are sycamores, with one red oak also included.

The council proposed introducing a tree protection order (TPO) which prohibits the:

Cutting down Topping Lopping Uprooting Wilful damage Wilful destruction of tree without the local planning authority’s written consent.

A number of residents objected to the plans. One, Hazel Rowntree, said one of the trees is close to a fence between their home and a school, attracts birds and therefore poses a “health hazard” due to bird excrement.

Mrs Rowntree wrote in her objection letter she is no longer able to host barbecues or have guests in their garden because of the issue.

She added: “The residents in Valley Road are constantly cleaning bird poo from our path, grass, fences, garden furniture our washing, our pets and ourselves.”

However, when the issue came before councillors on the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Committee, councillors moved to reassure the public that maintenance would still be possible – but permission from the council would have to be sought first.

Coun Mark Swinburn said: “Tree preservation orders are always quite an emotive issue. Some people want the trees cut down and others say if you try to cut them down I will see you strung up from them first.

“What the TPO would do, and I have experineced this, is make sure any work carried out is carried out properly. It just means they have to ask permission from the council before doing anything.

“There’s some confusion that a TPO is a barrier and you can’t touch them – that’s not the case.”

However, Coun Eve Chicken criticized the school for failing to maintain the trees.

She said: “Residents have tried to speak to the school over many years. I don’t think the school will listen to this.

“Some residents can’t leave their children to play in the garden due to bird excrement. If these trees are left without residents being able to do what they need to do because the school won’t maintain them, we need to put in a maintenance order.”

Despite Coun Chicken’s concerns, the tree preservation order was voted through by five votes to three.

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