In memoriam: Suffolk House trees felled a year ago this week

The woeful catalogue of events leading to the felling of the trees at Suffolk House is a stain upon the local authority planning committee.

Acorn tree services on behalf of CPS Homes/Quin & Co destroying a 150 copper beech tree, 8 March 2020

A year ago this week, following a decision by Cardiff Council to give CPS Homes/Quin & Co planning permission to develop Suffolk House in Canton, the beautiful trees pictured were felled, causing irreparable damage to the Conservation Area, and hurting the community deeply.

The woeful catalogue of events leading to the felling of the trees at Suffolk House is a stain upon the local authority planning committee.  Not least because mature trees are our frontline defence againt the effects of climate change.  The developer’s claim that the trees were unsafe was utterly spurious. Independent professional advice received by Cardiff Civic Society clarified that the trees were not a danger to the public, and that they could have been saved.  Despite repeated pleas to do so, CPS Homes/Quin & Co refused to countenance the idea. 

Depressingly, the catalogue of destruction of mature trees has continued unabated.

*In June 2020, three mature sycamores were felled within Llandaff Fields to facilitate access and a view from The Rise development.

*In February 2021 mature trees were felled at The Vicarage development.

*February 2021, a splendid mature copper beech was felled at Sophia Close to facilitate parking for a development.

To add to this catalogue of woe:

*Beautiful mature woodland at Danescourt is threatened.

*Hundreds of trees are under threat from the Velindre development at the Northern Meadows.  

*Flaxland Wood’s future remains in the balance.

Cardiff Council is happy to vaunt the fact that it is planting trees. But succession planting needs to go hand-in-hand with protecting the trees we already have.  A mature tree pumps out enough oxygen every day for eighteen people.  It will be generations before young trees can do the same.  Mature trees support biodiversity.  On the day before it was felled, the ecologist surveying the mature copper beech at Suffolk House counted 20 species of bird in its branches in the space of two hours.

This wanton destruction of our green heritage has to stop.

Suffolk House – timeline of shame

September 2016 – Cardiff Council place on disposal list: 

February 2017 – Cardiff Council sell property at auction. 

(May 2017 – Cardiff Council elections, Huw Thomas becomes leader)

c. December 2018 – planning officer’s report recommends the plan goes ahead, specifically removal of trees from a conservation area – leading to a complaint to the chief exec from Cllr Peter Bradbury: 

February 2019 – Planning permission refused, on account of the felling of trees in a conservation area 

March 2019 – Planning permission approved:

June 2019 – Ombudsman responds to complaint about Keith Jones: 

July 2019 – Civic Society public question regarding stronger protection for trees against developers.  Council commit to consider: 

January 2020 – Tree felling halted as correct permissions not in place:

February 2020 – Caro Wild says tree protection in Cardiff sufficient: 

March 2020 – Welsh government decide not to intervene: 

March 2020 – Felling takes place:

1 May 2020 – HSE issue notification to Acorn 

May 2020 – CPS exposed on Channel 4 for their behaviour towards student tenants:

Feb 2021 – Properties promoted on Wales Online:

2 thoughts on “In memoriam: Suffolk House trees felled a year ago this week

  1. Thanks for this timely post ! I’m concerned that the Council’s current planning guidance re trees does not take account of climate change .

    i.e. A mature tree has a value simply by storing a lot of carbon, and should merit protection regardless of its health, aesthetic value, etc.

    ? Is it time and is there a way to get the planning guidance updated ?

    There’s a new local development plan due in maybe 4 years, but I don’t think the climate emergency can wait that long !


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