Broken conservation links need fixing urgently

Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet member for Housing and Homelessness Sam Al-Hamdani is calling on Oldham Council to urgently repair the online systems for checking on the status on conservation areas and listed buildings.

Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “The Council has moved many of its services online – and for the most part it is of great benefit to residents. However, that reliance means that we need to ensure that those services stay available.

Sam Al-Hamdani, shadow cabinet for housing and homelessness

“One of my local residents had an issue with an overhanging tree – a large branch had fallen into her garden, and she was understandably worried about the risk of it happening again in the future, particularly because her husband is registered blind, and their garden is a safe space for him to go out. Before we got any work done, I wanted to check on anything that could cause any problems.”

Residents who take down or cut back trees in a conservation area, or where there is a tree preservation order in place, are at risk of substantial fines if they do not follow the correct procedures.

Councillor Al-Hamdani continued: “The systems to check online are broken – and have been since at least the start of June. Despite being reported, they remain broken. These aren’t just needed for checking on trees; it is particularly an issue for planning application – and making it easier to preserve our local heritage.

“Planning was the first of the council’s committees to move online, in order to be able to respond to the backlog of applications. It is vital that the services which support that are up and running, when people have no alternative, such as coming into the civic centre.”

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