Uplands Academy Tree Removal FAQ’s

We are receiving a lot of questions about tree removal to the front of Uplands Academy, and we hope the following FAQ’s help further clarify the situation and any confusion over the involvement of the WPC in the Academy’s construction project.

  1. The Academy’s leadership has informed me that they have been consulting with Wadhurst Parish Council for over two years on this project, so why haven’t the Parish Council asked them to preserve the trees?

The Wadhurst Parish Council have been liaising with the management of the Academy for several years on a number of topics including our ongoing request to the school to allow the expansion of the Greyhound carpark, and to get the busses off the high street. The WPC have raised objection to the removal of the screening trees in the Wadhurst conservation area at every meeting we have had with the Academy in our capacity as representatives of the community and we have explained the high strength of feeling that residents have for them. Last year we were told that the plans could not be altered as they had been submitted for grant funding but that they would however be reviewed with regards to our concerns if the project was successful. Disappointingly, although the funding was successful, the plans have not been amended to protect the screening but instead now include further tree removal.

  1. If they were so concerned why didn’t the Wadhurst Parish Council put Tree Protection Orders (TPO’s) on the trees?

The Wadhurst Parish Council does not have powers to put TPO’s on trees. This is only something that the local planning authority can do. The local planning authority for Wadhurst is Wealden District Council.

  1. Why didn’t the Parish Council request Wealden District Council put Tree Protection Orders (TPO’s) on the trees if they were so concerned?

Unfortunately, requests for TPO’s in conservation areas are not accepted by Wealden District Council.

Wealden District Council’s Tree & Landscape Officer has informed Wadhurst Parish Council that trees located within designated conservation areas already enjoy “the same level of protection as that provided by a TPO.……  Consequently the [Wealden District] Council would not consider it expedient to make a separate TPO where conservation area protection is already in place.


  1. Who are the “tree experts” assisting Wadhurst Parish Council?

Wadhurst Parish Council have been advised by the Wadhurst Tree Warden, Ian Noel, and the Principal Arboriculturist, Alex Livingstone, of independent arboricultural consultancy, Arborweald.

Wadhurst Tree Warden. Although this is a voluntary role for the community and there is no statutory necessity for a particular level of expertise, we are very fortunate that the Wadhurst Tree Warden is a highly qualified arboricultural consultant with extensive experience in ecology, landscape design and environmental work. Further details can be found on his website here About us Landvision Landscape Architects

Arborweald are an environmental consultancy specialising in arboricultural services including tree surveys, arboricultural impact assessments and tree works applications. Further details can be found on their website here Trees | Mysite (

  1. Where can I see the details of the construction project and the tree removal plans?

All the planning documents referred to can be found on Wealden District Council’s website (link here- Disclaimer – Planning and Building Control Register Planning and Building Control – Wealden District Council (scroll down and accept the disclaimer before continuing by inputting the application numbers detailed below and pressing the search button, the documents can be found by clicking on the ‘view documents’ tab)

  1. Application number WD/2022/2368/F – approved by WDC February 2023

Wadhurst Parish Council were consulted on this application which included the removal of only one dead tree to the school frontage.

  • The Academy’s arboricultural report by Connick Tree Consultants identified only one tree (an elm) at the school frontage that had died and needed removal. Otherwise, “ trees within the site have been graded as category ‘U’ and requires removal…”.
  • The Parish Council’s own expert report by Arborweald, conducted in December 2023, concurs with the assessment of the trees at the front of the Academy being healthy aside from the same one elm.
  • The planning officer’s report, in assessing the impact of the proposals on the Wadhurst conservation area and ecology confirmed that the “The fencing is proposed along an existing pathway, and behind existing vegetation along the hardsurfaced edge of the car park. No trees or vegetation will be affected.”
  1. Application number WD/2024/0028/TCA – approved by WDC March 2024

Wadhurst Parish Council were not consulted on this tree order application which includes the removal of trees from the frontage of the school.

  • The Academy’s arboricultural report by The Mayhew Consultancy dated October 2023 identifies 3 dead elm and 1 dead ash tree.
  • In his report Wealden’s tree officer concludes that “the tree removals and tree pruning will not result in a significant loss of public visual amenity or harm to the character of the conservation area”
  • It appears that these trees have been removed.


  • Application number WD/2024/0130/NMA – approved by WDC 30 April 2024

The application was for a ‘non material amendment’ to the above planning application (1). Wadhurst Parish Council were not consulted.

  • The Academy’s arboricultural report by The Mayhew Consultancy dated April 2024 does not identify any unhealthy trees. The reason for removal that is given in the report is “These trees would be lost as a result of the installation of the new perimeter fence, the new and reconfigured footpath installation, the northern car park and entrance reconfiguration, and the southern parking area reconfiguration.”


  1. The Parish Council asked for the congestion related to the current bus parking arrangement outside the Academy entrance to be resolved as part of the scheme; why has this not happened?

In the original planning application (which can be found here  Planning and Building Control – Wealden District Council under reference WD/2022/2368/F)  WPC raised concerns that school busses are not currently using the bus parking area due to the gradient of the school entrance (which causes them to ‘ground’) and hence they stop outside the school causing severe congestion at least twice in a school day. The WPC requested that any proposed scheme addressed this issue. Unfortunately, this project does not address those concerns.

The response from the Academy’s architects, which can be seen under the planning application, was that “We are not proposing a change to the bus parking arrangements outside of the school site and therefore we understand that this request does not hold material significance to our application.”


  1. Have the WPC been consulted on the tree removal?

Approval for the works has been granted by Wealden District Council over three separate planning applications. Wadhurst Parish Council have been consulted only on one application. The application that WPC were consulted on included removal of only one tree at the school frontage. The other approvals were granted on applications the Parish were not consulted on (tree orders and non-material amendments to planning applications). Until the meeting with Uplands Management on the 16th May we were assured that the trees were staying. At this meeting we were told that the reason for removal was because they were dead, diseased, dying. This is categorically NOT the case based on both the ‘non material amendment’ arboricultural report and our own two experts assessments. The trees are healthy.


8. Aren’t these important trees in the conservation area protected?

They should be.

They are notes as an “important tree group” in the Wadhurst Conservation Area Designation Report.

In addition, they should be protected under Wealden Local Plan Policy EN19 (section 8) which states

9. What will the frontage look like afterwards?

The arboricultural report submitted under WD/2024/0130/NMA contains a schematic showing what the school frontage will look like before and after the works are completed.

Figure 1 – BEFORE


Figure 2 – AFTER


10. Why don’t Wealden District Council overturn their decision, given that that they haven’t consulted residents on the tree removal in the conservation area?

The WPC have written to the Director of Place and the Head of Planning & Environmental Services to request that the decision is reviewed. The request has been denied and the we have received the following response;

We have explained our decision in the notice application that was made. To my mind, it seems there is an opposite view that they shouldn’t be removed. That’s fine – others can have that view – but the local authority has considered the matter and it is now up to the college if they want to act on that.”


11. What can I do to save the trees?

The trees are due to come down tomorrow, so there is precious little time to save these healthy trees that contribute so much to the character of the conservation area and the rural feel of the village. The only people who can save them are the management team of the Academy. There is another way for the footpath to be routed through the gaps in the trees at the front of the school to achieve the safeguarding aims whilst preserving these trees. It is in the Academy’s hands as to whether they are cut down, the only thing we can suggest is that you mirror our request and ask the Academy to reconsider before it is too late.