Who foots the bill for work on Bede Kirk green?
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
AN application to trim back branches of an ash tree on land being transferred into Barnard Castle Town Council’s remit, prompted members to question who will foot the bill.
The application, submitted to Durham County Council by David Jennings, from BT, states tree branches are encroaching on a “line of sight” from the company’s exchange building, on Harmire Road, to the Mossmire Home Office radio mast and has requested they be trimmed back.
The tree is on the green space outside the former police station at Bede Kirk, Barnard Castle.
Last year, residents, backed by the town council, successfully campaigned for the green to be protected from development.
Subsequently, Durham Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg agreed to gift it to the community.
At last week’s town council planning meeting, members expressed concern over who would be responsible for cutting back the tree.
Mayor, Cllr John Blissett, said: “Before we dig into this, they [BT] have put the application in so would they be paying for this?”
Clerk to the council, Michael King, confirmed the transfer of the land was still in progress and supporting documentation listed it as still being in the ownership of Durham Police.
He said: “The trees are subject to a preservation order that was applied for by the town council and it is on the land that we are negotiating to transfer with Durham constabulary.”
Chairman of the planning committee, Cllr Frank Harrison, said: “They say a tree needs pruning but in the application it says trees.
“I’m thinking there is a bit of a problem there. Is it just one or a number of them?”
Mr King pointed out it was his understanding that as BT had made the application to do the work, they would be paying for it and added he felt the matter should be left with the county council.
Cllr Blissett said: “At the end of the day it will become our responsibility.
“If the job needs to be done it needs to be done right.
“Whatever is cut out now we will save money later,” he added.
“Do we have any real choice here?”
Cllr Harrison added: “We’ll support with reluctance. They will get professional people to do it and make sure the bill goes to the police or BT.”