Land owner ‘stuck in limbo’ over trees above Buxton’s ‘High Footpath’

The A6 Bakewell Road in Buxton.
The A6 Bakewell Road in Buxton.

The man who set his sights on improving the area around Buxton’s ‘High Footpath’ has called for more local council support.

Bernard Titterton bought land above the site back in 2016 with the aim of cutting back the trees and making it safe again.

However, during the recent bad weather Bernard says one of the trees on the land was brought down on to the A6.

He said: “If that tree had fallen in the day when the road was busy, rather than at night, it could have killed someone, but I just keep being told that I can’t cut the trees back more than three metres because there are tree preservation orders (TPO) in place, which is just ridiculous.”

A TPO is a written order made by a local planning authority which makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by that order without the authority’s permission.

Bernard said: “I can’t build property on the land, I can’t put a fast food restaurant on it, I can’t even chop down the trees to make it safe.

“I’m stuck in limbo now because I really can’t do anything with it, and no-one is going to want to buy it because they won’t be able to do anything with it either.

“I wish I hadn’t taken it on, or I wish the council would wake up and realise it needs to change it policies.”

The raised town centre footpath, next to the A6 Bakewell Road, was closed in 2011 due to safety concerns .

Overhanging trees had caused parts of the walls bordering the footpath to collapse.

The 3.5-acre land is located within the built-up framework of the town, opposite Morrisons supermarket.

Bernard does not own all of the land - sections at either end are separately owned.

A spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We have been in regular contact with the landowner for over a year about the trees above High Pavement, and provided advice about what he needs to do with the trees.

“We advised that a long-term management plan needs to be prepared, which could then form the basis for approval for work to the trees to be carried out.

“This plan hasn’t been produced, but in the meantime we granted permission for some extensive works to the trees last autumn.

“Even if a tree or group of trees are the subject of the TPO, safety still comes first.

“So it is still possible to carry out work on the trees with a TPO if they are deemed at risk of falling down and causing harm to people or buildings.”