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    Raynes Park residents mourn loss of much-loved poplar trees

    A much-loved row of poplar trees outside a primary school has been chopped down by the council to the fury of residents overlooking the site.

    Merton Council cut down the trees overlooking St John Fisher RC Primary School’s playing field in the summer, leaving a row of irregular stumps.

    Residents living in the Derwent Road estate, which backs onto the site, said they are concerned the trees were chopped due to over-cautious school health and safety policy.

    Ben Mole, who is saddened by the loss of the trees outside his flat, said: “You might as well cut down every tree in the world in case it falls on someone’s head.”

    Nigel Swain, St John Fisher primary school’s site manager, denied the school influenced the council’s decision to cut them down but said he is not sorry to see them go.

    He said: “They are not owned by us, they are owned by the council and they maintain them.

    “Two of the trees came down 18 months ago during the storms and ripped up our fences. Those trees should never have got as high as they did. They should be maintained.”

    A spokeswoman for Merton Council said: “The trees will grow back following our pruning them to a level where they can be maintained and grow back safely as part of our planned, detailed inspection of all trees on school land.

    “The trees are poplar trees which are fast growing and respond well to heavy pruning.”

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