Call for investigation into removal of 13 trees in Bridge Street

ANSWERS: Cllr Nick Sandford is calling for an investigation into Peterborough City Council's decision to fell 13 trees in Bridge Street.
ANSWERS: Cllr Nick Sandford is calling for an investigation into Peterborough City Council's decision to fell 13 trees in Bridge Street.
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A Peterborough City Councillor is calling for an investigation into the decision to fell a third of the trees in Bridge Street, despite public opposition against the work.

Councillor Nick Sandford will make the call at Wednesday’s (7 March) Strong and Supportive Communities Committee asking for the committee to investigate the way in which Peterborough City Council’s cabinet and officers carried out their consultation into cutting down the trees.

The Liberal Democrat group leader is angry that 13 of the 39 trees in Bridge Street were removed last week.

This was despite 58 per cent of the 200 people who responded to the council’s public consultation about the proposed work earlier this year saying they wanted the trees to stay.

Cllr Sandford, who also organised a 200-signature petition against the removal of the trees, said: “What has happened in Bridge Street is a real scandal.

“We must investigate what went wrong in the decision-making process, and why public opinion was so blatantly ignored.”

The city council has previously said it decided to push on with its plans despite the results of the consultation because a 200-people response was not “significant enough to be representative of the people of Peterborough”.

But Cllr Sandford added: “I think the question I would raise is what is a ‘significant response’?

“I have had people contact me saying they would have given their view that they wanted to retain the trees, but didn’t know the consultation was actually happening.”

He is now calling for a new generation of trees to replace the 13 which were removed in order to help reduce the risk of flooding from heavy rainfall.

He said: “People told the council they want to keep a well-treed and shady environment in Bridge Street and not have a bland open expanse of concrete like Cathedral Square.

“One way to achieve this is to plant a new generation of young trees, preferably native species, which will grow up over many decades and could eventually replace the larger trees when they grow old and have to be removed.

“Maintaining tree numbers will also alleviate the danger of flooding, which is a real risk in such a low-lying area.”

Council leader Cllr Marco Cereste said: “He is a councillor and entitled to his views. I don’t happen to share them.

“As far as I’m concerned it’s old hat. The trees have gone. We have got to worry about the future economy of our city - that’s my focus.”

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