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Criticism after avenue of trees in Norwich’s Eaton Park chopped down

PUBLISHED: 08:14 07 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:42 07 December 2017

City councillor Judith Lubbock is questioning whether an avenue of trees in Eaton Park all had to be cut down at once.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017

City councillor Judith Lubbock is questioning whether an avenue of trees in Eaton Park all had to be cut down at once. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Lessons should be learned from the chopping down of trees in a Norwich park, according to a city councillor who says she was not prepared for the visual impact their felling would have.

The avenue of trees in Eaton Park which were cut down. Pic: Archant. The avenue of trees in Eaton Park which were cut down. Pic: Archant.

An avenue of 15 mature red horse chestnut trees were among 24 cut down in Eaton Park in October.

Norwich City Council said the avenue of trees, leading from the bandstand towards the rose garden, were in poor condition due to “significant crown die-back and brittle decay on the main stems”.

The council had consulted with the Friends of Eaton Park and would be replacing the trees. At the time, Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton and a member of the friends group, said she was satisfied the trees needed to be cut down.

But, after it happened and a line of tree stumps was left along the avenue, Mrs Lubbock believes a different approach should be taken in the future.

She said she had received “numerous criticisms” over the removal and said: “Whilst I was informed ahead of time that these trees would be felled, I was not prepared for the visual impact their felling would have on the park and sympathise with those users of the park who contacted me.”

She said, in future cases, consideration should be given to removing a few trees over a number of years, rather than so many at once.

And she said trunks and stump grinding should happen straight after felling, more information should be given to the public about the reasons for removal and for felled trees to be replaced as soon as possible.

Labour’s Matthew Packer, city council cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The removal of any tree in the city can be emotive and can have a definite impact on the local environment, which is why a decision to remove a tree is not taken lightly.”

He said the stump grinding was done last week and walnut trees had been picked by the friends group to replace the lost trees.

He said discussions had taken place with the friends and the tree team had recommended removal in one go.

He added: “Whilst having a significant impact on the park, this bold approach to the replacement was recommended as the best approach to reinstate the avenue and so the trees grow evenly.”

But the removal has not gone down well with park users.

Christine Miller, 53, a retired nurse from Mulbarton, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting that they have chopped the trees down.

“I have been coming to this park since I was a child and to me, it now looks like an alien landscape. It’s very upsetting.”

Damon Pritchard, 45, from Costessey, who works for the East of England Ambulance Service, said: “I think it looks horrific. It’s ruined a photograph I was going to take with my grandchildren in it.”

Retired Constance Wickins, 87, from Norwich, said: “I think it’s terrible. It has totally spoiled the area.”

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