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Protected buildings and trees

We enforce the protection of buildings and trees in the borough.

Listed buildings

By law, it is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a listed building that would affect its character. We may prosecute the owner of a listed building, those who have an interest in the property or who have carried out the works. Those found guilty may be liable to a fine and imprisonment for up to 2 years.

Prosecution for unauthorised works to a listed building can proceed regardless of:

  • whether retrospective consent is later obtained
  • whether the unauthorised works are made satisfactory
  • how much time has passed since the works took place

We may serve a listed building Enforcement Notice that requires remedial works to the building within a certain time period. There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State, but failure to comply with the notice is an offence, which is liable to a fine.

Tree Preservation Orders

We make provision for the preservation of a tree by issuing a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). It is an offence to carry out any unauthorised works to protected trees – for example, to:

  • cut down, uproot, or wilfully destroy a protected tree
  • wilfully damage, top or lop a protected tree in such a manner as to be likely to destroy it

The offence is liable to a fine of up to £20,000 and, on indictment, to a further fine. Most established trees – except fruit trees – in conservation areas are similarly protected, and the same penalties for offences apply.

Consent is not needed for the following works to protected trees:

  • works to trees that are dying or dead or have become dangerous
  • works to trees authorised by the grant of planning permission
  • works to trees cultivated for the production of fruit where such work is in the interests of that business or trade

We encourage all owners of protected trees to consult with us before undertaking these works.

If a protected tree is removed, we will consider whether a replacement should be planted. This would be the responsibility of the landowner, irrespective of who carried out the removal works. We would try to agree a voluntarily replacement with another tree of the same species, or an alternative species of similar size and stature – we may serve a Tree Replacement Notice if a voluntary replacement cannot be agreed.