Published on 14th August 2014

municipal offices

A local contractor has been fined after destroying a privately owned hornbeam tree.

Mr Sean Bartley, from Gloucester, pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday 28 July and was fined £764.

Permission was originally given by the council to prune the tree – which is protected by a Tree Preservation Order - at Hillfield in St Mark’s, Cheltenham. After Mr Bartley noticed a split in the main trunk however, he decided to remove a large section of the tree, leaving only a 10ft stump.  Such a stump would not be likely to survive long term.

The contractor kept no record of the split and did not take any photographs to back up his claims. He did not report his actions to the council.

Chris Chavasse, the council’s senior trees officer said:  "Whilst we are clearly disappointed that a fine tree has been destroyed, we are satisfied that in this instance, the contractor has had to pay for the consequence of his actions.  I hope that this could be seen as a warning to all tree surgeons and landscape operatives that this council takes unsanctioned work to protected trees very seriously and is willing to prosecute guilty parties where appropriate.’’

Councillor Chris Coleman, cabinet member for clean and green environment added: "We have a strong commitment to protect Cheltenham’s environment and so I am pleased with the outcome of this case."

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