Tree felling programme set to resume in Doncaster suburb following "detailed assessment"

A tree felling programme in a Doncaster suburb which was paused after complaints from residents is due to start again, council bosses have said.

By George Torr, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 12:36 pm

Residents on Middlefield Road and surrounding areas in Bessacarr have been informed that the final nine of 64 trees will be removed due to ‘safety concerns’.

In a letter to neighbours, council bosses say a ‘detailed assessment’ has concluded that they need to be removed, despite residents and campaigners saying the trees are healthy.

Peter Dale, director of economy and environment at Doncaster Council said: “A detailed assessment of the remaining nine trees on Middlefield Road has confirmed that they require removal on safety grounds due to the deterioration of the footpaths surrounding the trees and to replace the remaining sections of footway.

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Trees that have been felled on Middlefield Road, with remaining Trees which are due to be felled in the background. Picture: Marie Caley

“In light of this, we plan to start the removal of the remaining trees in the next few weeks weather permitting, to enable the completion of the surface improvement works.

“The removal of trees is not a decision that the council takes lightly, however, for safety reasons, it is essential in this instance.”

The council paused felling back in January after a prominent barrister who defended campaigners in Sheffield got involved.

Paul Powlesland of Ely Chambers in London said back in January that it ‘appears likely on the current evidence’ that the council ‘may have committed a criminal offence’.

Council bosses have said they discussed the felling with the Forestry Commission and they ruled they didn’t need a felling license.

Bessacarr Coun Nick Allen, said: “It is disappointing that this issue has reared its head again. It seems for the residents on Middlefield Road and nearby, on Stoops Road, Alston and Broughton to be a never ending saga.

“Firstly, I understand why the council need to do this work but this has been ongoing for a considerable time. I remember being updated about it when I was first elected in 2015. Why has it taken the council so long to do this?

“It isn’t an ideal time for carrying out this work, autumn, in a pandemic in one of the worst hit parts of Doncaster.

"I hope it is done safely and in accordance with safe working practice and covid guidance. The council need to monitor the work properly.

“I welcome the resurfacing work and I know many of the pavements in Bessacarr need similar work too.”

The council said they will look to replace the trees in other parts of the ward.

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