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Anger at plans to chop down Havant trees campaigners thought they had saved

UNDER THREAT The trees in East Street, Havant

By Elise Brewerton
Published in the Portsmouth News on Wednesday 14th December 2011

THE FIGHT is on again to stop a council chopping down two protected mature Irish yew trees.

Hampshire County Council, acting on behalf of the Highways Agency, wants to fell the trees outside the Post Office sorting office in East Street, Havant, because they make it difficult for buses to see passengers at the bus stop.

They say in an application to Havant Borough Council, the planing authority, that the roots are now lifting the paving slabs and there is some obstruction of sight line when exiting Beechworth Road.

But campaigners say that if the trees had been properly maintained over the years they would not be in the shape they are now.

In June Friends of the Earth joined Havant Tree Wardens in a bid to persuade the County Council to cut back rather than fell the trees.

They were delighted when Councillor Mel Kendall, in charge of environment and transport at Hampshire, said he had decided to retain the trees.

Frances Jannaway, voluntary co-ordinator of the Havant Tree Wardens, said: ‘It is particularly good to have trees like those in the town centre.

‘The green environment in town centres is very good for peoples sense of well being. It has been proved that trees and greenery make you feel better and you don’t get so depressed, especially children.

‘These trees have been there quite a long time and they are unusual because they are upright, rather than spreading like an oak.

‘They argue that by cutting it they will alter the shape of the tree but that happens all the time.

‘There are very few trees in Havant town centre any more. By cutting them down you are changing the nature of the place. There would be nothing to distinguish it from anywhere else.

‘It would be such a shame if these were lost.’

Mrs Jannaway said that as the bus stop is a statutory one the bus must stop whether the driver can see passengers waiting or not.

And she said there were other trees in the area causing worse damage to pavements which should be sorted out before East Street.

Nobody from Hampshire County Council was available for comment.

Comments either for or against the application must be received by Havant Borough Council no later than January 3rd.

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