Anger as trees are axed in Portsmouth park

RESIDENTS and councillors have refused to be kept in the dark any longer after four trees were cut down in Milton this week.

Monday, 4th June 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:38 am
Tree stump in Bransbury Park, Portsmouth. Residents say trees were cut down needlessly Picture: Chris Moorhouse

People were shocked to discover Portsmouth City Council contractors felling trees in Bransbury Park on Tuesday with no warning.

A total of nine trees in the park were scheduled for the chop, however, members of the public managed to halt work before it went any further.

Residents, councillors and the contractors, have since met to discuss a way forward.

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Cllr Ben Dowling, cabinet member for regeneration, said: ‘Councillors knew nothing about this, we only found out when the trees came down. My main concern is the lack of information that was available to the public.

‘We put a temporary stop to the felling although they will continue with maintenance such as trimming branches.’

He is keen to see the system become more transparent.

He added: ‘We don’t want any more trees felled until we can tell the public what is going on. The process is a delegated power but residents across the city need more information about works to trees.’

Brian Long, 81, of Lightfoot Lawn, spotted the contractors felling a tree on Tuesday morning.

He said: ‘It is not just happening here. About 40 conifer trees disappeared from Alexandra Park recently. And trees in College Park in Copnor have been cut down as well.

‘I am more concerned they are chopping down trees in full bloom. Why are they doing it at this time of year? It is absolutely terrible.’

His daughter Jane Long, 53, said: ‘I think a mass awareness campaign needs to take place and people need to concentrate on the issue at hand.

‘We have to be strong and stick together on this.

‘Preserving the trees is for the future of our children.’

Cllr Steve Pitt, council deputy leader, clarified the need for the works. 

‘Nine trees were identified as having evidence of “dieback” or disease, and as this is a public open space, require removal from a safety point of view. We replace any removed trees in the next planting season,’ he said.

‘In order to build confidence with the community that such works are definitely needed, the new administration will be ensuring that the council engages with local people at an earlier stage in future via their ward councillors.’