Church Stretton Tree Wardens
There are currently six voluntary Tree Wardens in Church Stretton reporting to the Town Council. The main task is to monitor and report on the many Tree Notices that are submitted to Shropshire Council – known as Section 211. Under Section 211 anyone proposing to cut down or carry out work on a tree in a Conservation Area or a tree with a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) is required to give the Local Planning Authority six weeks prior notice. Church Stretton is fortunate to have a great many trees and a large Conservation Area so there is a lot of monitoring to do. Site visits are made by two Tree Wardens together and comments are sent to the Town Council to be uploaded on to the Planning Portal. The reason for the process is for the Planning Authority to consider applying a TPO if a significant tree is under threat. This might also apply in the case of development through the planning process. Proposed work to a tree with a TPO is looked at to ensure appropriate advice has been sought and reasons for the work given.
We value our trees in Church Stretton and it is important to maintain our tree cover where possible. The Tree Warden’s role is simply to assess the importance of the tree or trees to the character of the Conservation Area and the impact the proposed work would have on the visual amenity of the area. Trees can outgrow their space and cause a nuisance because of disease or damage so a balanced view must be made. A decision on each notice is made by the Tree and Woodland Amenity Protection Officer at Shropshire Council, who will take into account comments made by the Town Council and other respondents.
The Tree Wardens do not claim to be experts but are volunteers who care about trees and who have years of experience and knowledge between them. Our advice is sought on many issues around trees and most of us are members of the Church Stretton Tree Group. Tree Wardens are also involved in tree and hedge planting in the town.
Hilary Hymas, Tree Warden Co-ordinator