Airport loses Marlhill Copse tree felling appeal

marlhill copse sign cropped 460

An appeal, brought by Southampton International Airport against a 2021 decision by Southampton City Council to refuse plans to fell tall trees at airport-owned Marlhill Copse, has been dismissed. 

A hearing was held on November 2/3 at the Hilton Hotel, Ageas Bowl Stadium.

The work proposed was to fell “Monterey Pine, Corsican Pine and other coniferous species, and all broadleaved species of tree” [more detail in our previous report here]

Planning inspector Melvyn Middleton reached a relatively swift decision following the hearing, on November 29.

He concluded in his detailed decision notice, available to download from SCC, that “the blanket clearance of vegetation from the appeal site, including the removal of some of the mature pine specimens, would be harmful to public amenity, both as experienced when walking along the former carriageway and as seen from the area to the immediate south and beyond, in the context of the skyline trees

Middleton added: “Overall, I do not consider the positive benefits from almost total felling that would result from the other considerations, sufficient to outweigh that harm. For the reasons discussed above and having considered all of the other matters raised I therefore conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”

Quoted by In Common, Cllr John Savage (Portswood, Lab), who attended the hearing said: “I am really delighted that the local use of the woodland was recognised by the inspector, along with the sense of place which is so key to Marlhill copse. The airport had a seven person legal team on this countering all the points being made me (sic) and the two tree officers. It was a real battle and I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful to the local residents who came along to speak in support of the council.”

A spokesperson told the Daily Echo that the airport was disappointed by the decision.

"Following the inspector's decision we will consider our next steps to ensure the trees within the copse are well managed," they said.

The appeal decision could still be quashed following a successful challenge in the High Court.

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