The Torquay Herald Express has reported that neighbours and councillors are outraged after a large number of trees on the perimeter of Torbay Hospital were felled.
It is claimed that at least 60 of the giant 50ft trees have been cut down in the woods next to Kitson Park.
Hospital estate chief Lesley Darke said that the work has taken place on the request of the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure safety at the on-site helipad.
She also refuted claims from local residents on Cadewell Lane that the felling was connected with new parking spaces being built on-site.
Local resident and Torbay councillor Roger Stringer said that the felling had upset a lot of his neighbours.
He said: “Every tree has gone. There are around 60, more than 50ft tall. Now I can see right through to the helipad. Instead of looking at woodlands we are looking at the drive.
“All of the neighbours are up in arms. This has devalued all the bungalows. That land was donated by Ella Rowcroft for recreational purposes for local people.
“There is a lovely stream with a pair of Kingfishers in there. They used to sit on the fence but I don’t think we will see them again.”
Lesley Darke is the director of estates and commercial development at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust and stated that the work was part of the hospital’s requirements to maintain the area and ensure the safety of the site for patients and the public.
She said: “A small number of trees have been recently felled according to our maintenance responsibilities and as part of planned works.
“This was not associated with our car parking improvements. We would never fell a healthy tree unless absolutely necessary as the trees form an important part of the landscape of our site.
“The tree management taking place is in two areas on Torbay Hospital’s site.
“One area is adjacent to the helipad which provides a vital resource for transporting some of our most poorly patients.
“The Civil Aviation Authority requested that we remove some trees in this area to ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers and crew.
“The second area is in the woodland onsite where there are a number of trees that have reached maturity and are in a distressed state with branches snapped off and hanging at high level.
“This posed a potential safety risk to anyone walking along the path underneath these trees. In addition, within this same area, a small number of trees have been removed to enhance the growth of other species in the very near vicinity.
“This is an important part of tree management and is a common way of ensuring the longevity and protection of the environment for the future.
“Our tree experts have carefully checked each tree to ensure that there were no nesting birds and we have been working closely with the council to ensure we are working within planning and environmental regulations.
“We are planning for these important safety works to be complete early next week.”
Councillor Mark Kingscote, ward councillor for Shiphay with the Willows and Development Management Committee chairman, said: “This has had a huge impact and a detrimental effect on Kitson Park.
“This is totally unacceptable. Lots of local people are quite rightly very upset.”
Local resident Dave Clement added: “This has ruined the look of the park. These trees have been here for years and in a matter of hours they have been destroyed.
“The environment has been irreplaceably damaged.”
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Image courtesy of The Torquay Herald Express