Residents in Morecambe road angry after county council fails to keep promise about trees
A pleasant grove that once boasted 23 mature trees has seen Lancashire County Council reduce that number to only 10, despite a promise to replace them.
Residents of Lodges Grove in Bare have seen their horse chestnut trees chopped down over the years as the county council has sought to avoid damage to property and address safety concerns.
But despite a written commitment to replace them with a more suitable species, all that remains are squares of tarmac.
Resident Brian Forrest said: “It’s so sad to see these beautiful trees being felled. We understand that there are good reasons for removing them but the county council should keep their promise and replace them.
“Even the repair work to the pavement hasn’t been done properly, meaning it’s a trip hazard and a false economy. Delivery vans are pulling up where the trees were and causing damage to the curb, meaning council workers keep having to come back to make repairs.
“We keep calling and emailing the county council, but no one seems interested.”
A letter to residents from Lancashire Highways in February 2013 said trees would only be removed if issues had arisen, and they would be replaced with "a species more suitable to the highway environment".
Residents have said they are even willing to fund the cost of the replacement trees themselves, but they will need the county council to arrange for them to be planted safely.
Local campaigner James Sommerville said: “At a time when the Government are saying we should plant more trees to benefit the environment, it’s such a shame that the trees on this street and others in Morecambe are being lost.
“Lancashire County Council needs a sustainable approach to highway trees to avoid spoiling our streets and having taxpayers keep paying for costly repairs.”
A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: "We recognise the value of trees which are planted in the highway, and while we consider all the available options to avoid removing them, this is sometimes necessary, usually due to disease, or because they are causing damage to property or infrastructure.
"Our policy for a number of years has been not to replace trees which have had to be removed from the highway due to the need to prioritise resources, however we will work with district or parish councils to replace them if they are able to provide funding.
"At the same time the council has been able to access limited pots of funding available for the replacement of highway trees at times over previous years, and we expect the letter to residents reflects this position in 2013.
"We are currently reviewing our policy on replacing highway trees in recognition of their importance to our environment, and maintaining air quality."