Wildlife officer criticises Fenland planners

Alan Palmer next to where the trees have been cut down on Upwell road March.

Alan Palmer next to where the trees have been cut down on Upwell road March. - Credit: Archant

A WILDLIFE officer has questioned the sense of Fenland planners after six lime trees were felled to make way for a footpath at a new mini housing development.

Alan Palmer next to a similar tree to those that have been cut down on Upwell road March.

Alan Palmer next to a similar tree to those that have been cut down on Upwell road March. - Credit: Archant

The builder was ordered to create the footpath as part of planning permission for the four-home plan on land at Upwell Road.

The Trees being cut down on Upwell road to make way for a footpath.

The Trees being cut down on Upwell road to make way for a footpath. - Credit: Archant

The news has saddened Alan Palmer, chairman of March Wildlife Group and warden of Gault Wood, who said the 150 year old trees, which line the side of the road, should never have been taken down.

Fenland District Council approved the family home scheme on a former yard belonging to Barry Harradine of W Harradine & Sons Transport.

One of the conditions was to lay a footpath.


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Mr Palmer, who has lived opposite the building site for 50 years, said tree removal had not been necessary for other Upwell Road developments.

“These trees form a spectacular entry to the town and start from the railway crossing almost to St Peter’s Road.

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“It is a nesting site for birds and a nectar source for bees and other insects.

“To cut them down is very sad. I have no idea why they think a path is necessary.”

Due to site layout and path width, the limes had to be removed because the roots would have been damaged during work and would have died.

They will be replaced with trees of the same species and similar size once work is complete.

Mr Palmer, whose wildlife role has seen him plant around 20,000 trees in the March area at public woods such as Gault Wood and private woods like Uxmoor Grange, said: “You cannot replace a tree that is 150 years old.

“Everyone talks about the importance of tree planting for the environment and yet these have been taken down for a footpath that seems unnecessary.”

A spokesman for Barrry Harradine said they ensured there was no nesting in the trees before they were cut down, and added some of Fenland’s decisions were often “interesting.”

“A big development of 20 homes might not be made to build a path yet here we are with a small development and we are told we have to.

“They will be replaced once work is complete,” he said.

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