Wisbech town council forced to abandon felling of eight trees after damning reports by Fenland Council experts insist they are in ‘good health’ ‘not diseased nor decayed’.
“There is a presumption against removing the trees as it is felt they contribute positively to the character and appearance of the conservation area,” says the district council conservation officer.
“They provide a central focus to the market place breaking up the monotony of rows of parked cars.
“They form part of a defined central area within the market place in conjunction with the delineation in the hard surfacing and the presence of benches.
The council’s comments are contained in reports made public the day after the Wisbech Standard revealed details of the controversial proposals.
By Wednesday the town council had thrown in the towel – an email from Terry Jordan, the council clerk, confirmed withdrawal of the application.
Fenland officials criticised the application for many reasons, pointing out the eight trees offer “a strong visual presence” and claiming they are “a natural feature within this urban space”.
Officials noted the trees “are visible in views looking west along Church Terrace and enhance these views through the conservation area.”
The district council also questioned the town council’s statement that the trees should be removed “due to poor top growth and damage to paving causing trip hazards”.
This statement is challenged by Fenland’s arboriculture officer who “confirmed they are not diseased or decayed and are in good health.
“It is not felt the trees need removing just because they are slow growing given that they appear healthy with full crowns.
“With regard to the root hazard issue it would appear that at present there is very limited damage to paving with some iron grills around the base of the trees having lifted.
“It is understood that this issue can be overcome without the need to remove the trees as the grills can be replaced by alternative coverings.
“It is not felt that adequate justification has been given for removing the trees at this time and the reasons cited are weak.
“The only information provided with regard to what would replace the trees is that they are to ‘be replaced with container grown planting’. No detailed information has been provided to state the exact nature or intentions of this container planting i.e. are they looking to put replacement trees in containers or have containers planted with bedding plants?”
Fenland officials also claim that while the trees “may not be a historic feature of the market place they were introduced as part of a scheme to enhance this public open space and it is felt they have achieved this and now contribute positively to the character and appearance of this part of the conservation area.”
The arboriculture officer for Fenland Council “confirmed that the trees are semi-mature, they have full crowns and are in good health (no sign of disease or decay).
“They may have been slow growing because of the manner and surroundings in which they are planted but none the less are in good health.”