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Director fined £20,000 for chopping down two trees at Fakenham building site

16:15 10 March 2016

Chestnut Close in Fakenham where the lime trees were felled. Picture: Ian Burt

Chestnut Close in Fakenham where the lime trees were felled. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

A company director and his firm have been fined thousands of pounds after two protected trees were cut down.

Bobyk Developments must pay £10,000 in fines for each of the 12m lime trees felled at a Fakenham housing site.

After the case, a council leader welcomed the outcome as an “excellent result” which she said showed how seriously the courts take breaches of tree preservation orders.

King’s Lynn Magistrates’ Court yesterday heard that Jody Bobyk, director of the development company, wanted to clear the trees to improve access to the site where three houses were being built and about five months from completion.

Cara Jordan, prosecuting, said: “It seems he put commercial benefits over the tree protection and compliance with the law.”

Bobyk, who admitted permitting the trees to be cut down on August 15, 2015, was fined £2,500 per tree as an individual, given a victim surcharge of £250 and ordered to pay £1,211.50 in court costs.

Roger Glazebrook, for Bobyk, 34, of South Everard Street, King’s Lynn, said his client accepted his responsibility for the felling. He also urged the magistrates to take into consideration Bobyk, who did not appear in court, was not the sole firm director.

Bobyk Developments was ordered to pay a £1,000 victim surcharge and court costs of £2,423, and a total of £20,000 in fines for contravening the preservation order by allowing the trees to be felled.

Both trees were part of a larger group protected by a preservation order, put in place to safeguard them from the development work, issued by North Norfolk District Council.

Chairman of the bench Margaret Oechsle said she hoped the high sum would serve as a “lesson” to those who disregarded the law.

Sue Arnold, cabinet member for planning and planning policy at NNDC, said: “This is an excellent result. The ruling sends a message to all developers that they cannot ignore conditions of planning permission and tree preservation orders.

“Those who wilfully disregard these orders face significant fines and we hope the decision will make people see how seriously a breach of these orders is taken by the courts.”

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