Welwyn Garden City poplars' future still undecided

THE ongoing saga of what to do with trees at a WGC beauty spot is back – by poplar demand. Councillors have resumed hostilities over the fate of the remaining Lombardy poplar trees at Stanborough Park. The issue had originally reared its head last summer,

THE ongoing saga of what to do with trees at a WGC beauty spot is back - by poplar demand.

Councillors have resumed hostilities over the fate of the remaining Lombardy poplar trees at Stanborough Park.

The issue had originally reared its head last summer, after Welwyn Hatfield Council authorised the felling of all 195 trees in the south car park, amid health and safety fears.

At the time, the remaining 428 trees in the north car park were given a stay of execution after serious opposition from the public.


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But their fate was on the line at two meetings last week, when Ann Macdonald, head of landscape and ecology, presented options to the council's task and finish working group.

On Thursday, three options on what to do with the 428 poplars that survived November's cull in the north car park were scrutinised by the group.

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Lib Dem councillor Louise Lotz was all for option two - to fell trees in three blocks and replant with a mixture of trees - and said: "This is good in many ways, taking out the trees in blocks over a number of years is fairly sensible to me."

However, Tom Davidson of Welwyn Hatfield Environmental Network was all for option three - to fell all trees in one go - saying: "I think we should fell the lot.

"These trees are in a bad condition and the advantage is that we can change everything."

A final decision was delayed until July when the options will go to a public consultation and then to cabinet.

The following afternoon, Friday, a further meeting was held to examine five possible landscaping options to replace the felled 195 trees in the south car park.

Chris Conway, director of strategy and development, was at both meetings and told the WHT: "During the course of April it is likely they [the task and finish working group] will firm up their preferred options for consultation, and a final decision by cabinet is expected in July.

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