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Anger as trees are chopped down despite campaign

PUBLISHED: 18:21 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 18:21 05 November 2020

One of the two trees that has been cut down in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

One of the two trees that has been cut down in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

Danielle Booden/Archant 2020

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.

Gail Mayhew, from the Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustines Forum (CMSAF) petitioned to save the trees. Photo: Gail MayhewGail Mayhew, from the Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustines Forum (CMSAF) petitioned to save the trees. Photo: Gail Mayhew

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.

READ MORE: Hundreds sign petition to save trees in historic city area from the chop

One of the two trees that has been cut down in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Danielle BoodenOne of the two trees that has been cut down in Tombland, Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

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.

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.

“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.”

READ MORE: Revealed: What historic city centre area could look like following £2.5m revamp

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.

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“All plans were subject to full public consultation and followed the correct democratic process.

“A full response to the petition can be viewed on the council’s website.”

READ MORE: Almost 4,000 sign petition calling for trees to be spared the chop


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