LETTER: 'Money is tight, and that Fenland District council have to make savings, but there is a small army of volunteers in Wisbech'

PUBLISHED: 14:10 18 February 2019

The 30 metre mature beech that was felled in Wisbech Park for safety reasons. Picture: FDC

The 30 metre mature beech that was felled in Wisbech Park for safety reasons. Picture: FDC

Archant

I was extremely disappointed to see yet another tree being felled in Wisbech Park.

However, I do understand that the safety of the public is paramount in such a popular and well used park and so any diseased trees must be removed as soon as is possible.

My disappointment stems from the fact that these trees are not being replaced. You only have to walk around the park to see all the stumps and holes left where trees once stood proud, and the beautiful avenue of trees that border Park Avenue is starting to look very gappy.

Wisbech Park is an extremely historic site, dating back to 1869 when it was felt that Wisbech deserved an area of open space, planted with a magnificent variety of trees for the people of Wisbech to enjoy.

At the time of its formation the park boasted of having over 250 trees, consisting of more than 30 different species, including some of the very first Sequoia trees ever to be introduced into this country.

These magnificent specimens can still be seen either side of the Young memorial and are probably two of the oldest and tallest of the giant redwoods in the whole country.

The benefits of the trees in this area cannot be understated. They reduce water retention in the soil and prevent flooding, they trap pollutants, fix atmospheric carbon and produce oxygen.

They attract wildlife and their aesthetic quality lifts the spirits and stimulates a sense of well-being. This decline in tree numbers in the park was recently documented in a report by Hayden Arboriculture Consultants who highlighted the fact that the original number of 250 trees was already down to 219 and that at the current rate of decline and removal of trees, in 40 years time, there will only be 28 trees left in the park.

The policy taken by Fenland District Council, sanctioning the removal of trees without replacing them, verges on vandalism, allowing an important piece of Wisbech heritage to decline and disappear.

We have a moral obligation to preserve this beautiful park, with its trees, for generations to come. Future generations won’t thank us for allowing a once beautiful area turned into an empty field.

I understand that money is tight, and that Fenland District council have to make savings, but there is a small army of volunteers in Wisbech willing to purchase and plant new trees to make sure that our park is preserved for generations to come.

However, this complete lack of communication and consultation by an autocratic district council, who sneak in policies under the radar, in the name of having a quiet life, is leading to the destruction of the very same community assets that it is meant to protect.

Alan Wheeldon (Friends of Wisbech Park)

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