Tree 'decision' unpopular

PUBLISHED: 15:49 26 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:47 26 October 2009

SIR - Having been present at the fiasco that was the so-called public meeting convened by the borough council and Finesse Leisure recently, attended by about 40 concerned residents and councillors, I have a few comments to make. The subject was the

SIR - Having been present at the fiasco that was the so-called public meeting convened by the borough council and Finesse Leisure recently, attended by about 40 concerned residents and councillors, I have a few comments to make.

The subject was the council's alleged proposal to fell nearly 700 Lombardy poplars at the two car parks at Stanborough lakes, in September.

The object of the meeting was to inform and educate us about this alleged proposal and to 'explain the background'.

We were even invited by the Finesse official who tried (unsuccessfully) to chair the meeting, to proceeed to the south car park and see what the trees looked like!

We were also shown 'exhibit A' - a chunk of wood which was found in the car park. But no-one could tell me if there had been a single claim arising from contact between a similar piece of poplar and anyone's head.

The WGC Society is following up on this issue and already we understand that the six ward councillors (Handside and Hatfield Central wards) have been invited to a meeting with the council's planners on August 29, to be 'informed' and 'updated'.

Public consultation will follow that in September and then, I assume, the environment committee will do its stuff and eventually the cabinet of seven good councillors and true will make a decision; a truly democratic process singularly lacking from what has gone before, on this issue.

However, my concern and my purpose in writing, is to ask that the public consultation in September deals not just with the Lombardy poplars in the Stanborough Park car parks, but also those which are located in WGC town centre and in other key places in the town's conservation areas eg, Parkway Close and Parkway (south).

The Lombardy poplars in Howardsgate and in Parkway are an essential element of the beauty of our town centre.

Their removal will tear the heart out of our Garden City and would constitute an act of extreme civic vandalism.

The council has stated (WHT, Aug 6, page 15) that, "there are no plans to remove them during this three-year cycle".

But I ask: Where are we in that cycle and what plans are being hatched for the years after that?

I urge the Handside and Hatfield Central ward councillors and the environment committee to insist that ALL our Lombardy poplars are included in a new, wide-ranging survey by a truly independent specialist and that their remit should be to come up with a plan that will meet public approval, as well as being technically sound.

Dr Dennis Lewis,

The Links, WGC.

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