Elgin residents split over removal of mature Scots pines

by | Aug 12, 2015 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

A cluster of protected trees that line an Elgin street could be chopped down – despite mixed reaction from residents.

Moray Council wants to revoke a preservation order that protects the 45ft mature Scots pines in the Reiket Lane area.

Various surveys have suggested the 80-year-old trees are in a poor condition so pose a risk, and are not suitable for the location.

Officers also say the conifers had lacked maintenance, and that any potential management plan would fail.

If councillors back the move to revoke the protection orders, the area in front of Waulkmill Grove and behind Barlink Road, Waulkmill Grove and Reynolds Crescent will be felled and replanted with a landscaped woodland that is “more appropriate” for the area.

But the proposals – which will go before the planning and regulatory services committee – have had a mixed response for locals.

Colin Wilson has lived with the pines in Waulkmill Grove since the houses were built there 45 years ago.

The 84-year-old said: “Some of those reasons sound like rubbish, but if they are going to do it properly, it will be all right.

“There’s been a few trees come down since I moved in, but I would miss them if they were gone.

“They have been there all the time I have been here and I have grown up with them.”

Craig Johnstone, grew up in Waulkmill Grove, is against the plans and said the trees offered residents privacy from their neighbours and passers-by.

The 29-year-old added: “It would be a shame to lose them, it really would, because the trees offer some privacy and almost partition you off from the houses and make you forget they are there.”

But fellow Waulkmill resident Sheila Evans said the change has been a long time coming.

She said: “The mess from those trees is horrendous, but the council doesn’t want to tidy it up.

“If they replant the trees, put in a children’s play area and make it bonnie, or give us somewhere to park our cars — that would be magic.”

A report to committee members states: “While it is accepted that the trees within the area add amenity value, it is clear that even with a maintenance plan the lifespan and condition of the trees cannot be improved.”

It adds that the area has some long-standing issues related to loss of daylight and falling branches.