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Anger about cedar trees in Whitton damaging play area
6:00am Friday 4th October 2013 in News
A concerned Whitton mother wants “dangerous” cedar trees to be axed after several large branches fell and damaged her children’s play area.
On September 4, three heavy branches fell from one of the cedar trees, damaging Simone Scott’s back garden and fencing, prompting the mother-of-three to call for action.
The trees, mostly in the north-east corner of Whitton Park Sports Association’s playing fields, were protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) after the branches fell.
They are remnants of the Duke of Argyll’s 17th century estate on Whitton Park.
Many remaining branches overhang a public footpath, which is the responsibility of Richmond Council, and Ms Scott’s back garden.
Ms Scott, of Rydal Gardens, said: “The public footpath is heavily used especially by parents and school children attending the local schools and nurseries.
“Our playing area is no longer safe for my children to use. I understand surveys have been made on the tree regularly but there has been no maintenance in many years.
“It is upsetting that they had no interest in these trees and are now holding us prisoner regarding what we can do.”
She has submitted a letter objecting to the TPO and said she and her neighbours were considering going through human rights laws.
Nearby Kerswell Kids Nursery, whose parents and children use the footpath, have submitted a complaint.
Whitton Park Sports Association director Tom Eldridge said: "We would rather pay the £5,000 to get rid of these trees now than spend around £4,000 on pruning and maintaining them each year.
"If the council want us to keep them because of their historical value then they should 'adopt' the trees and cover the costs of their maintenance."
A full assessment was due to take place today (October 4), which Ms Scott and Mr Eldridge said they were not told about.
Richmond Council confirmed it was aware of the matter, the correct procedures had been followed and it had done all it could so far.
Within 24 hours of initially contacting the council, a tree surgeon visited the tree and deemed them not to be dangerous.
A council spokesman said: “We are aware of this matter and a tree officer will contact the Whitton Park Sports Association.”
A TPO lasts for six months but can be renewed after that period.
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