1.1 Background The roads of the Fisheries are classified as “private streets” (apart from the Rushes which have been adopted by the Council). As such, the responsibility for maintaining the roads rests with the householders, who are deemed to own the land out to the middle of the road. Although we own the land, including the verges, we are not allowed by law to build any obstruction, fence or wall, beyond the boundary line, that marks the edge of the associated verge. The location of this line can be found in your deeds, and was recorded on the Ordnance Survey maps of the area in 1974. The roads themselves have been laid down in the dim and distant past by the owners of the estate (thought to be one Annie Smith in the 1880’s), and their original tenants/leaseholders. They have been maintained on an ad hoc basis ever since, with mainly resurfacing on a patching basis in recent times. Maintenance As a general rule, the patching work is undertaken every 2 years by specialist patching contractors, which has been generally sufficient to keep the roads in a reasonable condition. Exceptions to this rule have been those area affected by major house redevelopments, where the passage of many heavy lorries leave permanent damage to the sub-structure, as well as to the surface. As a matter of courtesy to other road users, we would urge residents, before undertaking such construction work, to obtain contractual undertakings from their builders to make good any such damage. Another aspect of the roads in the Fisheries is that they have no inbuilt drainage system, so the verges are the only escape route for surface water to soak away, not to mention the problems of flood water relief. It is essential therefore that the verges provided for pedestrian safety, as well providing a more aesthetical appearance, are not covered by water-impermeable materials. Worse still are the walls/fences which have been erected, in some cases right up to the road boundary. The Council have recently passed an encroachment policy, which will permit enforcement orders to be issued against major encroachments. 1.3 Costs & Allocation On the basis of repairs every 2 years, the cost charged of 2 x £70 per household frontage, this represents extremely good value for money, when set against the adoption costs which would run into tens of thousands of pounds per household. We do ask for a reduced sum from the Rushes residents, as they need “our roads” to reach their own houses, but some of them do not choose to act in a neighbourly fashion in this respect. We would remind you that the survey work which precedes this work being undertaken, is done by resident volunteers, thus saving further expense to the community. Trees and their Welfare
2.1 Introduction In the roadside verges we have inherited many trees, especially beeches, which add to the rural and leafy character of the area. Trees, like any plants need attention, and eventual replacement. Their lives can often be in excess of 100 years, but with the high water table of the Fisheries, and the ease with which spores can move around sub-surface, we have seen many healthy specimens perish in recent times. Apparently sound trees can develop internal decay systems, which only break out into visible problems late in their development. Adding to the problem is the shallow rooting nature of some of the roadside specimens. Consequently we have had 2 cases of beech trees falling onto properties in recent years, generating insurance claims, and presenting considerable risk to human life. Household insurance policies only cover the policy holders against tree damage, if the trees are inspected every 5 years or less. Having been inspected, any recommendations have to be followed up swiftly, or the cover becomes invalid. For this reason, and because of the more general exposure of residents to roadside (as opposed to garden-based) trees, the FRA conducts 5-yearly surveys undertaken by arboreal specialists using inspection and ultra-sound techniques. These people are not tree surgeons, and have no vested interested in having trees felled unnecessarily. Following on from their report, which is funded out of the annual fee, the results are shared with householders, and bulk quotes provided for the work identified to be done. The commissioning of the work is then down to the individual. The last survey was conducted in 2006 – the next will be due in 2011. The results of the previous surveys are kept available for inspection by newly arrived residents. Cost It is impossible to give more than an indication of the cost of tree works, as they vary according to size of tree, its proximity to property, and the amount of work to be done. Approvals Technically, only trees with Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) placed on them by the Council require planning approvals to remove or reduce. However, approved tree surgeons will not generally take the risk of starting work without visual proof of Council approval. If the Council then find the tree to be a mature specimen, they may place a TPO on it to prevent he work being undertaken. The village of Bray is designated a conservation area, which means that all works to buildings and need planning approval, but this designation does not extend into the Fisheries.