Photo of two of the trees with a banner reading 'These 3 trees are still at risk'.
  • The insurance company hopes you will get tired of repeating yourself.
  • Meanwhile the three trees are each facing a new and truly deadly threat. 
  • Please help stop this, by writing an objection to planning application 24/0413/TTPO – ideally by mid-July 2024.
    (Friends of St Matthew’s Piece have learned that 24/0413/TTPO will not come to the Cambridge City Council Planning Committee before 24 July, at the earliest.)

An insurance claim at 193 Sturton St (a 28-year-old new-build property) blames ‘clay shrinkage subsidence’ on three 126-year-old Sturton St trees. This is the third time in three years these insurers have applied to severely harm – or kill – these three trees.

  • Objections from members of the public are needed at least through mid-July 2024.
  • Comment on planning application 24/0413/TTPO via the Council’s Planning Portal or via email. Read below for how to do this. 
  • Any brief objection on what matters most to you is perfect!
  • Some possible grounds to use in your objection are outlined below.

Photo of one of the trees with a poster giving some of the details in this blogpost

You will have good reasons of your own but here are some extra suggestions:

  1. The 4.5 m deep trench proposed (in 24/0413/TTPO) would be dug to install a root barrier that would be a minimum of 7m from 193 Sturton Street – placing it about 5 m from the three protected trees – well within their vital “root protection areas” (RPAs).
  2. Cutting the roots at that location would destroy up to 26.5% of the three trees’ essential RPAs.
  3. The British Standard BS5837 : 2012  defines the RPA as the minimum needed for trees to be viable.
    A tree’s Root Protection Area can be equated to a circle, using the tree as the centre-point, with a radius that is twelve times the tree’s Diameter at Breast Height for a single stemmed tree.
  4. Cambridge’s Petersfield ward has only one public park – St Matthew’s Piece – vs 56 official parks in Cambridge’s other 13 wards. (More details can be found in The Background section, below.)
  5. Petersfield has a particularly poor tree canopy, with very few mature trees.
  6. Every tree matters in Petersfield, which suffers badly from the ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’.
  7. Each of these 126-year-old Plane Trees has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), and is in our Conservation Area.
  8. These trees are vital to the wellbeing of every person who lives, works or studies in our community
  9. Harming these trees would breach Cambridge Local Plan 2018 policies 55, 56, 61, 67 & 71 and, being within the Eastern Gate Opportunity Area (p89) policies 14 & 23, as well as the National Planning Policy Framework [Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, December 2023] ¶96abc, ¶97abc and ¶102 (pp28, 29).
  10. In 2006, 2007 & 2008, in connection with another planning application (06/0567/FUL), the City Council’s own tree expert repeatedly stressed the importance of preserving all the trees on St Matthew’s Piece, both individually and as a group – these trees have only grown in importance since then.

  • Follow this link: 24/0413/TTPO | The works involve digging a trench to severe [sic] roots of protected trees 
    OR: search on the planning portal for 24/0413/TTPO2.
  • In order to comment you must be registered.
    If you’re not already registered, start with this registration link on the planning portal.
  • Go back to 24/0413/TTPO, and choose the tab for Comments.
  • Select Make a Comment.
  • Type in your comment.
    You might like to draft your comment in your preferred word processing app (Apple’s Pages, MS Word, etc) in case of any glitch on the Planning Portal. When you’re satisfied with your wording and have corrected eny mystaikes any mistakes and typos, you can copy’n’paste into the box on the Planning Portal.
  • Every adult in your household may register and comment.
  • You should receive a confirmatory email immediately; if not, something went wrong, find the comment tab and copy’n’paste again.
  • If you continue to experience difficulties, you can email planning officer citing 24/0413/TTPO. Once again copy’n’paste your comments into the email. You must include your full name and postal address.

Previous posts about the three trees:

The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation. Read more on the history of St Matthew’s Piece, on the St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020.

Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.

To be kept up to date, please email and ask to be added to the FoSMP Supporter’s List. You will be led through a GDPR-compliant sign-up process. This will make sure you receive very occasional email updates on issues like this one.

If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this blogpost, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please use this email link.

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