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Christchurch residents’ anger at tree felling plans
RESIDENTS are angry after learning that trees could be felled in a Christchurch park when a development takes place at the historic site next door.
The trees are near Druitt Gardens’ boundary with the Cornfactor building, which is due to be demolished and replaced with flats and shops.
But the council and developer insist the felling would be part of a landscaping scheme which would improve the gardens.
The council agreed in April to allow Renaissance Retirement to build a three-storey block of 26 apartments for elderly people and two shop units on the site.
Resident Bev Miller said locals had not been aware that the scheme could mean the loss of around 10 trees near the boundary.
“This is on land that belongs to Christchurch. It was given to townspeople as a park and a developer is cramming in a pretty intensive development right up to the boundary,” she said.
“All the way along the developer has known there were trees there, the council’s known there are trees there, yet they passed these plans and there’s been no public consultation or information about tree felling at all.”
Matti Raudsepp, head of leisure and open spaces for the Christchurch and East Dorset Partnership, said the trees affected would be non-native species of sycamore and that it had ‘long been expected that they would need to be removed to improve the wildlife and amenity value of the gardens’.
“This development offers the opportunity to both remove the existing poor specimens and replace them with semi-mature native species in an enhanced setting,” he said.
“Work that has been carried out already to thin sycamores elsewhere in the gardens has allowed more light and warmth into the area.”
Robert Taylor, managing director of Renaissance Retirement, said the felling would be part of a landscaping scheme being produced for the council’s approval in line with its aspirations for the gardens.
“The site has been derelict for 30 years.
“There always was an agreement with the local authority that whichever scheme was to be developed, the developer would work with the council to improve the gardens immediately adjacent to the site,” he said.
He said the boundary had been allowed to overgrow to screen the derelict site.
The trees’ removal would help allow a new path from the high street, through the Cornfactor site to the gardens.
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