Kenilworth tree felling stopped indefinitely

One of the trees felled on Thursday May 17
One of the trees felled on Thursday May 17

Controversial tree felling in a rural part of Kenilworth has now stopped indefinitely, according to a local councillor.

The felling of trees on land off Rouncil Lane began on the morning of Thursday May 17 until Cllr Sue Gallagher and Joshua Tebby, the son of nearby Rouncil Farm owner Ray Tebby, turned up in protest.

Cllr Sue Gallagher, Joshua Tebby and leaseholder Cllr Alan Cockburn on Thursday May 17

Cllr Sue Gallagher, Joshua Tebby and leaseholder Cllr Alan Cockburn on Thursday May 17

Contractors then tried to start felling again on Monday May 21, but no felling actually took place after Joshua and his brother Ben, who were protesting the felling, were allegedly assaulted and police were called.

A thinning licence was granted by the Forestry Commission for the work to fell up to 100 trees in the area.

But Cllr Pat Cain, ward councillor for St John's, said all felling work had now stopped following a site visit by the Forestry Commission today (Wednesday May 23).

She added: "Cllr Gallagher, other St John's councillors and myself have been working behind the scenes on this.

The felling has now stopped for the time being

The felling has now stopped for the time being

"We've been going to the site regularly to see what we could do to help.

"We hope that the residents are happy that the work has stopped for the moment."

Ray, who has been against the felling ever since it was threatened, said he was 'very pleased' with the decision.

But he added: "It's disappointing they've taken the trees near Rouncil Farm down. They've just taken the most beautiful oak trees out.

"I hope something becomes of this, but we'll wait and see."

Warwick District Council's leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs said the council could not intervene even though it had issued TPOs on the trees, as the Forestry Commission had granted its own permission which takes precedence.

He said: "I am sorry to see the removal of these trees, but formal permission is in place from the Forestry Commission to carry out this work. The Forestry Commission has advised that some felling will help the overall health of the trees that should help to prevent disease.

"I have also been informed of a proposal to create an additional, larger woodland area on land immediately to the north of this site. I am therefore hopeful that in the long run we will see a larger and healthier collection of trees in this area.”

The land is owned by Christine Archer, who leases the land to her brother-in-law, Warwickshire county councillor Alan Cockburn.

In an email seen by the KWN, the Forestry Commission said the felling so far was in compliance with its licence, but added contractors had said they would not be returning until the issues raised by protestors had been resolved.

The Commission also said it would be talking to Christine Archer to discuss her future intentions.