Blockley resident fined more than £4,000 for cutting down three 60-year-old apple trees

The trees were situated in the Blockley Conservation Area. Credit: Cotswold District Council

A man who chopped down three 60-year-old apple trees in a conservation area in his back garden has been ordered to pay more than £8,000.

Ismail Elmagdoub, of Bath Orchard, Brockley, admitted felling three healthy apple trees in the Blockley Conservation Area without consent from Cotswold District Council.

He was fined £4,224 and ordered to pay an additional £2,970 in costs, plus a victim surcharge of £1,690 at a hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday 27 November.

Elmagdoub organised for a contractor to cut down the trees in March 2023.

A witness observed the contractor beginning to cut down the trees and warned Elmagdoub that the trees were situated in the Blockley Conservation Area.

Historic mapping indicates the site to have been an orchard from 1891 and the Council's Tree Officer believes the apple trees were at least 60 years old.

Elmagdoub explained the fallen apples from the trees were being eaten by his dog which was causing the animal to become unwell. He added the trees were attracting wasps which were causing issues for his family.

He apologised for the felling of the trees and stated he "acted without thought," adding he is keen to work with the Council's Tree Officer.

Robert Weaver, Chief Executive of Cotswold District Council said preserving the natural environment is a "shared responsibility."

Mr Weaver said: "The outcome of this case underscores the importance of engaging with the council to ensure we protect and enhance our shared environment for future generations.

"We encourage residents to engage with us to ensure sustainable decision-making," he added.