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Healthiest Whitton trees to survive
The controversial decision to axe trees on Whitton High Street has been partly reversed, following a council review.
Almost half the condemned trees have been reprieved after Councillor Virginia Morris’s decision to resign as Richmond Council’s cabinet member for the environment.
Her replacement, Councillor Pamela Fleming, ordered a review into the decision to remove the 22 existing trees in favour of a ‘boulevard of pear trees’.
And after facing opposition from residents and councillors, now only 12 are for the chop, with an additional 14 to be planted.
Coun Fleming said: “Expert tree officers reviewed each tree and identified 12 trees that needed to be replaced due to their health or their impact on the road or highway.
“However, we are not just replacing these trees, we are adding two more.
“The new trees will have pretty white flowers in the spring and in the winter a number will be ablaze with the local Christmas lights.
“I am confident that the High Street will be transformed before the spring and all residents and businesses will see the benefits of the result.”
The regeneration includes new paving, forecourts, lighting, bus stops, crossing points and resurfacing of the carriageways.
Coun Liz Jaeger, who has been a vocal opponent of the council’s plans, described it was a good outcome for the environment.
She said: “I’m pleased the concerns of local people have finally been listened to.
“It’s been a worrying issue these past three months and at times it seemed there was little prospect of a positive outcome.
“It is particularly good that most of the larger trees will be remaining, and will be better maintained in the future, with appropriate pruning.”
She was grateful to the people who organised a petition of more than 600 signatures opposing the plans, submitted at a full council meeting last month.
Work to replace the trees will begin in the next few weeks and should be completed by March next year.
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