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Swanage College Boss Fined £5,000 Over Axed Trees


01 May 2009 Last Updated on 15 July 2009 Adam Owen

Daily Echo

Steven Smith

The director of a Swanage college has been handed a £5,000 fine after four protected trees were cut down in its grounds.  Robert a’Barrow also had to pay Purbeck District Council £3,000 costs after pleading not guilty at Bournemouth Magistrates Court.  Harrow House International College was also fined the same amount and costs.

The district council brought the prosecution after four trees that were subject to tree preservation orders – an oak, a sycamore and two willows – were felled.

Initially, a’Barrow, 73, of Swanage, the college and contractors Kenneth Turner, 67, of Furzebrook and Anthony Wilmington, 40, of Godmanstone, all pleaded not guilty to breaching a tree preservation order at Wimborne Magistrates’ Court.  Before the trial in Bournemouth, Turner and Wilmington changed pleas and were fined £900 and £1,200 respectively.

During the trial, a’Barrow and the college said Mr Turner, who had been contracted to do the work, instructed his subcontractor, Wilmington, to fell the trees without the college’s authority.  But magistrates found Harrow House and a’Barrow guilty, saying that they did not go far enough to make sure the works were not carried out on the protected trees.

The Daily Echo approached the college, and was told a’Barrow would not comment as he did not believe the press would quote him accurately.