Jubilee trees ‘are in the wrong place’

A RESIDENT who lives close to a Bury St Edmunds recreation ground says people in the area were not consulted properly on plans to plant 60 new trees to mark the Jubilee.

After a call from the Woodland Trust to plant six million trees to mark the occasion, Green Suffolk county councillor Mark Ereira-Guyer provided money from his locality budget to plant 60 trees at the Gainsborough Recreation Ground, in Grafton Close, Bury St Edmunds.

But Margaret Thompson, of Cadogan Road, whose house backs on to the ground, said she stood in the park for three hours on Sunday and collected 60 signatures on a petition against the planting.

She says the trees have been placed at the wrong side of the field and that the area used was a favourite for families and groups to play and have picnics.

Margaret wrote various letters to to the council complaining about the lack of consultaion and the affect on the local area.

A reply from the council’s parks development manager John Smithson said that 35 consultation letters were sent to properties which backed on to the field, with 21 completed questionaires returned. Of the 21, 12 said yes to the preferred scheme.

Margaret said this was not enough consultation for a plantation that will be in the field for generations.

She said: “A lot of residents are very angry about it. The council has not consulted enough people about it – people just did not know about it in the area.

“People in Rosbrook Close didn’t even get a letter -– they only found out when someone was digging up the park. They are not happy.”

Margaret said the trees had been planted where young people and families played and had fun after school and that the Jubilee planting had restricted the area where people could play sports.

She said: “The trees are being planted in the wrong area. If they had put them the far end of the park where nobody hardly goes it would have been much better. The trees are taking the purpose away from the field.”

Last Friday, the first 60 trees were planted at the site by Cllr Ereira-Guyer, older residents and pupils from Westley Middle School. On Tuesday, a further 60 trees were planted at the site.

A council spokeswoman said: “Finding the right site for the Diamond Jubilee trees was a balance between making sure there was plenty of space for play activities such as kite flying and kickabouts, not being too near the football pitch or boundaries and taking account of where people usually walked. Although we planted 150 trees these will be thinned over the years to create a lovely copse for future generations to enjoy and we are very grateful for the terrific support from local schoolchildren at Westley Middle who helped us to plant them.”

Cllr Ereira-Guyer said: “It seemed like a lovely Jubilee project.

“I think it is so sad for a resident to go round and collect a petition about trees.”