A landscaping company has been hit with a fine and court costs totalling £11,000 after admitting cutting down a 40-year-old weeping ash tree on the site of the £50 million Wolves training ground development.
Workers from GC Landscape Management Ltd chopped down the tree on the Compton Park development despite the fact it was covered by a preservation order.
Wolverhampton Magistrates Court heard there had been a “misunderstanding or miscommunication” between workers and bosses about which trees were to be felled.
Yesterday’s hearing was told that the firm was operating at the site on behalf Redrow Homes, which is part-owned by Wolves chairman Steve Morgan.
Prosecutor Mr Kevin Roberts, on behalf of Wolverhampton City Council, said the authority received a call on May 11 reporting that a healthy tree was being cut down near to the entrance of Compton Park.
Tree specialists carried out a site visit within 20 minutes and found that a weeping ash tree had been cut down.
Mr Roberts told magistrates that the tree was covered by a 1992 preservation order, in place to prevent it from being cut down. The company entered a guilty plea to contravening a tree preservation order.
Mr Gregory Burke, defending, said the Derbyshire-based firm had been formed in 2003 and had built up a formidable reputation. He explained that as soon as it emerged that an incorrect tree had been felled, the company’s managing director immediately informed the local authority. “He was immediately remorseful and offered a tree replanting scheme,” added Mr Burke.
In addition to the training ground revamp, the extensive project at Compton Park includes the relocation of St Edmund’s Catholic School and the creation of 55 luxury homes, built by Redrow.
Magistrates issued GC Landscape Management Ltd with a £7,000 fine, £4,000 costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Nick Edwards, Wolverhampton City Council’s assistant director for regeneration, said after the sentence: “We are pleased that the court has recognised the seriousness of this case. Everyone has a duty of care towards protected trees and we will not hesitate to take action where they are wilfully damaged.”