Anger as trees are chopped down despite campaign
- Credit: Danielle Booden
A council has been criticised for cutting down two trees in a historic part of the city centre, despite thousands signing a petition to spare them the chop.
Norfolk County Council requested permission to cut down two lime trees in the Tombland area of Norwich, as part of a £2.5m revamp of the city centre.
The project aims to create more pedestrian and cycle-friendly routes through the area as well as removing an eyesore toilet block.
But the trees, which are believed to have stood in Norwich for more than 40 years, were the subject of a petition to save them which saw thousands of people offer support.
Residents group the Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustines Forum (CMSAF) launched the petition to stop the trees’ removal which was backed by almost 4,000 people before being presented to Norwich City Council, which was in charge of making the call.
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But the council, which previously said the move was to improve lighting and increase public safety, was not persuaded to spare the trees and their removal has now gone ahead.
Gail Mayhew, from the CMSAF, said: “It’s really disappointing and heart-breaking for everyone.
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“We thought we’d made a clear case there isn’t a reason for them to be cut down.
“It’s a great shame.”
Ms Mayhew added: “We’re in a world where it’s very clear we need to deal with climate change and biodiversity in a completely different way to reduce the risk of harm to human health.”
And commenting on the results of the petition, she said that the campaigners had received an “incredible response” and added: “There is a public understanding of the impact.
“The trees gave a great deal of pleasure to people and Tombland was a really lovely space.”
Martin Wilby, county council cabinet member for highways, said: “Of the 22 existing trees in Tombland, we removed two and will be replacing these with five new ones.
“We recognise tree planting in Tombland is of significant value, which is why we have used the project as an opportunity to diversify and increase planting, ensuring that tree cover in Tombland is secured for future generations and the finished result will deliver an enhanced public space for all users.
“All plans were subject to full public consultation and followed the correct democratic process.