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Whitton High Street trees reprieved after cabinet member steps down
Trees lining Whitton High Street have won a reprieve after the resignation of Councillor Virginia Morris.
The council wants to cut down existing trees and replace them with a “boulevard of pear trees”, but many are opposed to the change.
Councillors were informed work could begin early next week but Virginia Morris’s resignation from the council cabinet has delayed matters.
New cabinet member for environment, parks, planning and highways Councillor Pamela Fleming said she would need time to review the situation before making a decision.
She said: “The work will be put on hold for the time being and will not be taking place on Monday.
“Coun Morris was going to review the situation as I will do now but it may take a little longer for me coming into the new role.
“I will speak to the ward councillors and then I need to make up my mind.”
A petition against the trees’ removal, signed by several hundred people, is due to be presented at a full Richmond Council meeting on September 24.
Whitton councillor Liz Jaegar said: “I’ve been against cutting down healthy street trees since we first heard about this from a council press release in July.
“As well as losing all the environmental benefits, it is also goodbye to the Christmas lights in those trees.”
New drawings have been revealed which show a considerable gap between two pedestrian crossings on the east side of the high street without new trees.
Coun Jaegar added: “The formal council consultation last autumn indicated a very different plan, with new trees being planted to fill the gaps between existing trees.
“Now that we have such a radical departure from this, people should be re-consulted.”
The plans in November showed 18 trees being retained and a further 37 new trees planted.
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