Trees felled at Martinborough Golf Club

23 March 2023

South Wairarapa District Council today met with members of the Martinborough Golf Club (MGC) to understand how 22 trees were felled at the golf course earlier this week, which is Council reserve, without formal permission or the Council’s awareness.

Following a constructive meeting with the MGC, Council understands that MGC mistook an earlier wide-ranging meeting with staff in late September 2022 about the club’s development and tree felling plans as approval to proceed. As a result, no formal request to fell these trees was sought from Council.

Council is very disappointed that the trees were cut down without formal written permission being requested and provided. Felling of mature trees is understandably concerning to most people; however, Council appreciates that in this situation it was an essential step in the MGC’s development plans. We accept there was no malicious intent. Council also understands that MGC has been communicating with neighbouring properties and its club members to keep them informed of plans, and no objections to the tree removal had been raised, that they are aware of.

Under Council’s lease agreement with MGC, formal (written) permission must be sought for any tree felling. Today’s discussion has been helpful in reminding MGC of its obligation to follow our contractual agreement, including for tree felling. This excludes any necessary maintenance which MGC appears to have been doing responsibly for many decades. Council also understands no further tree felling is planned at this stage.

The trees that were felled recently were not on the notable trees register and therefore not protected. MGC advises the removal of these trees will ensure safer access to the squash court, better green area and additional space for the new clubrooms.

With regards to MGC’s plans for a new clubroom, no consent has yet been filed. However, Council generally supports the rebuilding of the clubrooms which are in need of repair, and which will provide a valuable community asset. The new building has potential to be used for Civil Defence and is the only sporting venue of its type in the district.

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