Leisure centre trees given second chance of life

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Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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THE decision to allow two healthy trees to be chopped down because they obscured an advertising sign for a leisure centre has been overturned.

Councillors angry that Havant Borough Council’s cabinet agreed to the request by Horizon Leisure Centre called in the decision to the scrutiny board.

The board voted unanimously to request the cabinet reconsider its decision and refuse permission for the felling of the London Plane and Ash trees.

The trust wanted the trees to go to improve visibility and marketing of the centre.

As the trees were on land owned by the council but leased by the trust, there was no need to put a Tree Preservation Order on them as it was assumed the council would automatically protect them.

Council leader Tony Briggs said, as custodian of the trees, it was a difficult decision to make.

He added: ‘We have a responsibility to listen to and consider the request of Horizon Leisure Trust which operates the council’s leisure facilities and help it in pursuing improvements to its marketing and sustainability in the current economic climate.’