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Why Have Trees In Woodbridge Meadows Been Shrouded?

Published on: 7 Mar, 2019
Updated on: 8 Mar, 2019

Those passing along Woodbridge Meadows have probably wondered about the mysterious shrouding of trees on the empty Walnut Tree Park site.

Installation art or mitigation to prevent birds nesting on a construction site?

There is a planning application on the site for a residence for students with 361 units. It was submitted in November 2018 but has not yet been approved.

Is it an art installation or a sign that the owner of the plot is gearing up to carry out work there soon?

The answer is likely that the contractor is looking to prevent birds nesting in the trees now, in a bid to avoid delays later to the project should approval be given.


Plan of the proposed student residences on Woodbridge Meadows.

View of the proposed five and six storey high student residences.

Contractors are required by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981) to avoid impact on nesting birds when carrying out their work. To avoid that, the contractor drapes the trees with the gauze to prevent birds nesting in them.

Some of the trees on the site, mainly walnut but also one silver birch, are protected under Tree Protection Orders (TPOs).

Shrouded tree on Woodbridge Meadows.

There are several objections to the application including the Environment Agency on flood risk grounds and the Guildford Society on the amount of student accommodation in the town rather than on campus, among other reasons. The National Trust has objected to the height of the proposed buildings next to the river.

A previous application in 2017 for 191 apartments and up to 12 stories high had been withdrawn after objections to the plans.

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Responses to Why Have Trees In Woodbridge Meadows Been Shrouded?

  1. Adam Aaronson Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    I think this is a condition known as GDS – Greedy Developer Syndrome. Nesting birds are an impediment to developers who don’t want building to be slowed down by those pesky regulations about disturbing wildlife. Closely related to GLS – Greedy Landlord Syndrome. There’s a lot of it about.

  2. Sue Warner Reply

    March 10, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    They did that at Sainburys at Brookwood before chopping them all down. Preservation orders aren’t worth the paper they’re written on – they chopped down the walnut tree by walnut bridge so they could put a bike rack in. I agree with Adam GDS!

  3. Susan Parker Reply

    March 11, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Netting trees and hedges is utterly unacceptable. it is supposed to prevent birds nesting, but can lead to birds being trapped in the netting and dying, To do this in order to accommodate a possible future planning application is appalling.

  4. Adam Aaronson Reply

    March 11, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Councillor Spooner has tweeted the following yesterday afternoon: “I am pleased to advise that the developer responsible for netting the trees is removing the nets within 48 hours. 11 trees were netted in total all on land controlled by developer. No planning permission has been granted on the site to date”

  5. Alan Davies Reply

    March 12, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Cllr Spooner seems to involve himself in everything. I thought there is an Executive of Conservative councillors who are each supposed to do something. Can they not be used?

    Cllr Spooner is the lead councillor for planning and development in addition to his role as council leader. Ed

  6. Harry Elson Reply

    March 14, 2019 at 7:07 am

    It’s “Carry On Up The Development!”. What a farce.

    What on earth is happening to local planning? We need housing for local people, not students. The residents of Guildford need some backbone to end these arbitrary decisions.

    I am seeing the incursion into the green belt at Keens Lane which has no backing from all of the local residents. The Walnut Tree Close site is ideal for housing for local people using a brownfield site close to the town. No one is concerned about the birds and wildlife. At Keens Lane, I saw a kingfisher this morning. Goodbye to all that.

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