Controversial Saltaire tree felling decision to be debated at Council meeting

by | Jun 22, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A controversial decision to fell an avenue of trees along Saltaire’s main thoroughfare will be debated at a Council meeting this week.

The 32 mature trees in Victoria Road, planted in the 1950s, were chopped down at the start of the year as part of a major £720,000 restoration scheme, and replaced by eight smaller trees.

Council bosses had said they had been damaging pavements and had not been part of the original design of the model village.

But a group of residents dismayed at the loss of the trees in the World Heritage Site had petitioned Bradford Council, alleging that a public consultation about the plan hadn’t been properly run.

The 172-name petition was presented to the Full Council in March, when group spokesman Jackie Mulligan said the consultation had “upset hundreds of residents, had misled participants and has made many feel disenfranchised”.

Petitioners said artist’s impressions of how the new scheme could look had been misleading and that the consultation hadn’t involved enough people.
It called on the Council to reconsider its decision and replant more trees along the road.

The group’s concerns will now be discussed at the Shipley Area Committee on Wednesday, but a new Council report urges the committee to reject the petition.

The report, by World Heritage Site officer Helen Thornton, said officers didn’t believe artist’s impressions had been “in any way misleading” and that it would “not be usual practice to consult the whole Bradford District on a matter which concerned a single street in one neighbourhood area”.

It adds that four new trees are now being planned for the gardens at Victoria Hall and the Salt Building of Shipley College, while up to four more trees could be planted in the Almshouses Gardens.

She said: “It’s not a compromise, it’s what we always intended to do. I stressed that to people, I don’t think they were listening.

“It has always been part of the original plan that we would work with these landowners to improve their green spaces.”

Meanwhile, the £720,000 revamp of Victoria Road is continuing. The smaller trees have been planted, new street lights have been installed and work has begun on laying the pavements. Work is set to finish by March next year.

Curved cut stone flags are being laid in a fan-style arrangement at the corners, to match similar heritage designs in Caroline Street, Albert Road and Titus Street.

The area committee meets on Wednesday at 6pm at Shipley Town Hall.