Fears raised over ‘backdoor development’ on Portsmouth hospital site

jpns-21-12-15-011 Save our Trees via tc UH0ruuSABzzrO72bQAmy
jpns-21-12-15-011 Save our Trees via tc UH0ruuSABzzrO72bQAmy
Leading WEM Phil Phillips, from Fareham, waves to his wife, Lynne, in the crowd as HMS Liverpool returns home after seven months on duty

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PLANS to fell trees in Portsmouth have sparked outrage from residents.

Dozens of people have vowed to fight proposals to axe the trees at St James Hospital in Locksway Road, Milton.

Here in an overcrowded city with very poor air quality and increasing traffic we need all the trees we can get.

Janice Burkinshaw, chairman of the Milton Neighbourhood Forum

The proposals have been submitted on behalf of the NHS Property Services.

The worry is that, by cutting down the trees, it could lead to future housing development at the site.

Milton councillor Ben Dowling said residents were extremely anxious.

‘I’m concerned that every time you fell another tree in St James it’s one more step towards potential development,’ added the Lib Dem councillor.

‘It’s a large fear for residents and for myself.

‘I don’t want to see backdoor development.’

More than 60 residents registered objections on the city council’s website.

And others took more extreme action by painting a in red on one of the trees facing the axe ‘God bless this tree’.

Janice Burkinshaw, chairman of the Milton Neighbourhood Forum, said: ‘People’s feelings are running very high over this.

‘Here, in an overcrowded city with very poor air quality and increasing traffic, we need all the trees we can get.

‘We shouldn’t be felling them willy-nilly.’

Another objector, Dr Richard Pierce, of Wheatstone Road, Southsea, said there was no justifiable reason to fell the trees.

‘The environment is too important for all of us, including future generations, to be sacrificed on a whim or selfish motive,’ he wrote on the council website.

Liberal Democrat ward councillor Will Purvis agreed and felt more effort should be made in the upkeep of the trees by the NHS instead of simply cutting them down.

‘I think they (the NHS) aretaking a lazy approach – it’s an awful lot easier to cut down trees,’ he added.

The application will be debated at the council’s next planning meeting, on January 13 at 5pm.

Residents are being urged to attend the evening.