Petition against Hatfield tree removal

PUBLISHED: 11:00 18 November 2018

Two of the trees in White Lion Square in Hatfield will soon be removed as part of redevelopment works.

Two of the trees in White Lion Square in Hatfield will soon be removed as part of redevelopment works.

Archant

Residents are banding together to protest against the removal of two established trees in the heart of a Hatfield.

An artist impression of White Lion Square in Hatfield after the £1.2 million redevelopment.An artist impression of White Lion Square in Hatfield after the £1.2 million redevelopment.

Two of three mature trees are set to be removed from White Lion Square as part of the planned £1.2 million redevelopment in the town centre.

An online petition objecting to the tree removal has been started by Marian Hurle of Clean Up Hatfield, who leads a weekly Health Walk from the square.

She says the trees add to the aesthetics of the town centre, have environmental value and provide shade in which visitors to the square enjoy gathering.

Ms Hurle said she had been advised by a professional tree inspector that they are not diseased nor have any dangerous boughs and that regular pruning would allow more light through.

A spokesperson for Welwyn Hatfield Council said there had been “wide-reaching consultation” when it developed the plans in 2015.

The plans have twice been publicly displayed at the town centre hub, most recently last year.

“Removal of raised curved planters and trees at the northern end of the square was proposed to open up views of the shop fronts and allow free pedestrian movement at the top end of the square,” the council spokesperson said.

“Overall, our aim was to create a more welcoming environment and drive footfall to local shops and businesses, while keeping access routes clear.

“Much of the feedback was very positive about the plans, and we felt they balanced the varying needs of residents, shoppers, and business owners and workers.”

The petition had been signed by more than 90 people as of Friday afternoon after being posted on website Change.org on Wednesday.

Ms Hurle, who says she objected to the plans when they were on display, said many people she had spoken to shared her views and some of them had not known and were upset about the tree removal.

“There are not many places for birds in Hatfield and that’s one, people like to look at that and I think they help to negate climate change,” she said.

“The plans look very barren, very bare.

“There will still be a tree at one end but it’s a huge square.”

Work on the White Lion Square transformation is expected to start early in the New Year.

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