This morning the Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot, the Chair of the Planning Committee Martyn Perkins MHK, and the owner of Ballavarvane Farm in St Marks met to seek a solution which could avoid the removal of much loved elm trees.
Over 50,000 people, including TV presenter Chris Packham, had called on the gov to stop the 25 trees from being felled.
During the meeting this morning, it was agreed by all parties that no work or action will take place at the existing site whilst an alternative solution is finalised.
The existing planning application to remove 25 trees and create safer access to the property was granted following road safety concerns contained in the application which includes a serious accident that took place in September 2019.
An alternative access has now been identified that would avoid any impact on the Elm tunnel on the Braaid Road in St Marks. A planning application will be developed and submitted in the next three months.
If this alternative application is successful, the landowner will relinquish the existing planning approval, legally abandoning the intended changes to improve access and safety.
The public are requested to remain respectful towards the landowner who has followed the planning process and who, following public concern, is working with gov to implement an alternative solution to the current vehicular access issues.
Mr Boot said: ‘We had a very positive discussion with the landowner and have agreed to work together on this alternative approach, which will avoid any damage to the Elm tunnel, whilst still ensuring that the landowner has a safer access to the site at a different location.’
Mr Perkins added: ‘We are aware of how unsettling the reaction has been for the applicant and are grateful for their cooperation in looking for alternative solutions. Working together, we believe we have identified a way to improve access and safety whilst protecting valued trees and habitat.’