29 London Plane trees that were imported from Italy and planted in Tolvaddon Road, Pool, are being called “a waste of taxpayers’ money”.
This comes after the trees, which cost £1,100 each were replaced by European Acer trees. The trees, planted by Cornwall Council, were originally going to be used to create a “boulevard effect”, but had to be replaced after failing to grow at a rate that was expected.
Former councillor Dave Biggs described it as a “£100,000 mistake”.
“The advice was very clear that the trees were unsuitable, but for whatever reason [the council] went ahead and ordered them from Italy anyway,”
Mr Biggs said the cost of buying, transporting, planting and maintaining the London Planes would have been in excess of £100,000, which the council could not afford to waste.
“I can’t believe it’s anything less than a £100,000 mistake… and for the life of me I can’t understand why London Plane trees couldn’t be sourced in the UK.”
The origin of the London Plane tree is uncertain, according to Woodland Trust, but it is thought to have been imported to the UK from Spain in the 17th century.
The council said it was unable to say why London Planes, which thrive in other UK urban settings, were used or imported from Italy, as the forestry team leader of the project in 2009 had since left the council’s employment, however it said they were planted in 2010 “in accordance with recommendations”.
The council have said despite aftercare and watering, the trees had struggle to develop at the expected rate, and tree officers had recommended trialling some alternative species.
In a statement, it said the London Planes had been removed and replaced with 16 Acer trees at an additional cost of nearly £6,000.