Protection order on trees as questions are asked

22 Dec 2020 10:51
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Emergency protection orders have been placed on trees that survived a controversial felling operation on green space in Horwich.

Angry people living near the site say the first they knew of the plan was when workmen moved onto the land near Stocks Park Drive and began cutting down the trees.
The green space has been enjoyed by locals since the estate was developed and has hosted street parties and civic celebrations. It is also known as a haven for wildlife.

The felling operation has now halted. Councillor Marie Brady, who represents Horwich North East on Bolton Council, said emergency Tree Protection Orders (TPOs) had been placed on the remaining trees on Medway Drive and Medway Close.

She added: "They will be converted into permanent orders unless there are any objections."

The Medway site passed from Bolton Council to a private company in 2013 and is the subject of a 76-year lease.
Cllr Brady and other local councillors are calling for more information about that deal and want to know if other parcels of land and assets in the area were involved in it.

She said: "What took place on the site was shocking. It left residents distressed and angry. It ruined what was a peaceful, valued place with mature trees and the home of birds, hedgehogs, bats and newts.

"Dozens of trees which have been there since the estate was developed and hosted street parties and civic celebrations like the Queens Jubilee have all been felled. They have been lost forever."

Horwich town councillor David Grant says he has tabled a motion calling for answers from the borough council about why the felled trees were not protected.

Malcolm Harrison, who chairs the Stocks Resident Association, has condemned the tree felling. He said: "People had no idea this was planned. During these times of Covid it has been important for people to have places like this to go to."

Gerry McKenzie, who lives near the green space, also wants to know what the future holds for the site. He said: "We also don't know what is planned for the land moving forward. We don't know what is going on."

In a statement Bolton Council said: "There is a 76-year lease on this land, which passed to a private company in 2013 as part of a wider initiative to free up council resources and raise funds for essential frontline services.

"There is currently no planning permission for building on this site and the trees that were cut down were not subject to any preservation order."

It added: "It is the responsibility of the leaseholder to maintain and manage trees."

A Bolton company called Landmark Collections manages the land for another business based in the borough called Greenmount Securities. Both have registered offices on Lostock Office Park.

In a statement, Landmark Collections said: "Greenmount Securities as a responsible landowner, commissioned professional arboriculturists to carry out work on this privately owned piece of land.

"This is entirely at their own costs and within all applicable regulation and legislation."


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