TAMESIDE COUNCIL has to answer claims it did not reveal which trees would be cut down before an area that will be transformed into housing was cleared.
The Local Government Ombudsman is investigating complaints after several were felled on land next to the Churchfields estate in Millbrook.
Now the Correspondent has obtained a copy of the letter detailing the allegations Tameside face.
And they have to answer why they did, or did not, do what is alleged.
Jane Slater, who lives next to Stayley Cricket Club, made the complaint to the LGO after the work was done without warning on the area, which will see 29 homes built on it.
And in a letter from LGO addressed to Tameside Council chief executive Steven Pleasant a number of damning claims are made.
It says: “Mrs Slater says the public was not informed that it was the developer’s intention to remove all the trees, before planning permission was granted.
“She says that, if she had known that this was the plan, then she would have strongly objected to it.
“She therefore feels that the proper consultation process was not followed as the possible loss or effect on trees is a material planning consideration.
“She says she tried to obtain confirmation from the council before the planning permission was granted about which trees were to be removed and retained but the council did not provide the information.
“Mrs Slater also says the developer did not obtain the proper consents to remove trees that were not covered by the 2016 planning permission.
“The trees are in a conservation area and some of the trees were subject to tree preservation orders.”
Most of the furore centre around the chopping down of trees next to a stream halfway along the area, including a number of hawthorns.
Mrs Slater, 52, said: “When the application was first made, we made it clear that we wanted to know which trees were staying and which were going.
“We were promised that we would be given a walkaround of the area to do just that, but it never came about.
“There’s a stream across the site that a previous survey found has great crested newts in it, so we know there’s wildlife in there that we would like to preserve.
“I know there were two good hawthorns and four good poplars that have been cut down nearer to Huddersfield Road. I’m absolutely devastated.
“Now they’ve taken away habitat for wildlife as there were owls and bats regularly seen in that area – nothing is going to bring them back.
“I’ve never had a satisfactory answer from Tameside Council as to why the developers are doing something different from the planning application.”
If the LGO decides Tameside was at fault, it may uphold the complaint and recommend how they should put things right or uphold only part of the complaint.
If it finds against Tameside Council, it can force them to make an apology, reconsider a decision, make a payment or tell it to improve its procedures so similar problems do not happen again.
Whatever happens, Mrs Slater will not calm her feelings towards the authority.
She told the Correspondent: “Many people feel the way they handled the application is underhand.
“I made Tameside aware I was going to take it to the LGO after dealing with them for about two years and getting nowhere if they didn’t give me a satisfactory answer.
“They’ve tried to slip it through without us noticing. We have been seen as an annoyance more than anything.
“I made representations against it on the planning form and I don’t believe Tameside have taken any notice.
“The fact they allowed building in that area is bad enough, now every last tree has been taken away. It’s just not on.”