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Council Withdraws Notified Resource Consent Application For Oxford Street London Plane Trees Removal

Horowhenua District Council announces the withdrawal of its Notified Resource Consent application aimed at removing 27 London Plane trees along Oxford Street in Levin, covering a distance of 300 meters from Queen Street West to Devon Street.

The proposal to remove these trees was prompted by various challenges, including concerns raised by local retailers regarding leaf fall and flooding, as well as structural issues affecting pavements, kerbing, and roading.

The Notable Trees status of the London Plane trees under the Operative District Plan requires a rigorous resource consent process for their removal. Any decision regarding their removal or retention is subject to public feedback, ensuring the community’s voice is heard.

The decision to withdraw the current application comes after a thorough community consultation process conducted last year. During this time, Council actively collected and reviewed public feedback. A total of 120 submissions were received, with 88 expressing opposition to the proposed tree removal.

"Our decision to withdraw the current resource consent application reflects our commitment to including the community in our decision-making process," says Chief Executive Monique Davidson.

"We recognise the concerns raised and believe it's essential to take a step back and reassess our approach. While some may be disappointed by the decision not to proceed with hearings, the costs to proceed to hearings is significant, and given the feedback received, the chances of gaining consent to remove the trees is unlikely. We need to acknowledge this reality and work together to find the best way forward for Levin.” Davidson adds.

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Considering the concerns voiced by various stakeholders, including the effects on nearby retailers, protecting Council infrastructure, and ensuring public safety, Council is exploring alternative solutions such as pollarding and root trimming to effectively tackle these issues.

The decision to withdraw the resource consent application reflects the lack of a comprehensive replanting strategy aligned with the Levin Town Centre's future vision. At the time of the initial application, the prioritisation and sequencing of key town centre initiatives were not fully established. Recognising the need for a robust replanting plan that supports Levin Town Centre's long-term vision, Council believes that pausing to reassess their approach will allow them to better align with their long-term objectives.

In-line with upcoming district plan changes, Council will conduct a comprehensive review of all Notable Trees across the district. This proactive step reflects a commitment to striking a balance between community interests and preservation efforts, ensuring outcomes that benefit all stakeholders.

Horowhenua District Council would like to extend their thanks to the community for their ongoing engagement in this matter.

For further details regarding the Oxford Street London Plane Trees, please visit horowhenua.govt.nz/PlaneTrees

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