Work to improve a Wisbech car park which has been waiting to go ahead since 2002 has sparked anger as workmen dig up flower beds and fell trees

St Peter's car park Wisbech

St Peter's car park Wisbech - Credit: Archant

Work on a Wisbech town centre car park has sparked fury on social media after Fenland District Council workers ripped out flower beds and felled trees.

Work on a Wisbech town centre car park has sparked fury on social media after Fenland District Council workers ripped out flower beds and felled trees.

The work at St Peter’s car park in Church Terrace has angered the Wisbech Street Pride volunteers forcing at least one to resign and causing the local ward councillor to demand answers from Fenland council’s officers.

Councillor Steve Tierney, the ward councillor, told posters on the Wisbech Discussion Forum that he was “as surprised as everybody else” over the work, which was started last week.

After reading the angry comments posted on the forum Cllr Tierney contacted officers at Fenland Hall to find out what was going on.

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He was surprised to discover the work, which also includes increasing the number of parking bays, has been scheduled since 2002.

He wrote: “I had no idea the work was happening as the ward councillor. Nor did any other town councillor to the best of my knowledge. I am as frustrated by it as everybody else.

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“I am told that this work dates back to a 2002 plan which was agreed and then could not continue because the funding dried up. The officers have been doing bits and pieces of the work ever since whenever some funding became available.

“I am told that this was considered basically routine maintenance and that is why they did not notify town council or any of the councillors in town. They did, however, notify the In Bloom volunteers, they say.

“I am also told that the flowers/plants planted by Street Pride were funded by the office doing the work originally, that all the plants with some worth have been safely removed and can be replanted. Trees that are being removed have been identified by a professional survey as requiring removal as they are sick, or ‘not thriving’.”

Cllr Tierney also said officers were “very surprised” there has been an outcry because the work was considered “routine”.

Many of those posting on the Wisbech Discussion Forum were angered at the loss of trees, and questioned the council’s suggestion they are “diseased or not thriving” especially as the work to fell them has been in the pipeline for 15 years.

One poster said: “2002 no wonder no one knew what was being planned. Sounds like a right rooster up in communication. If trees are diseased or dying understandable to replace them.”

An In Bloom volunteer said: “A final decision must have been made on this within the last financial year so somebody must have known. I, along with others, have spent many hours working on these beds. I have donated plants and fetched mulch at my own expense. As far as I am concerned FDC can replant the beds themselves. I have resigned from Street Pride as I no longer wish to belong to a group associated with FDC.”

However, a council spokesman said: “The work is a combination of routine maintenance and minor alterations aimed at improving the layout of the car park and make it safer. The removal of the kerbed islands and small areas containing shrubs and bedding plants will create a few extra parking bays and improve the flow of traffic through the car park.

“We did inform the In Bloom group of the planned works a couple of months ago and they did not come back to us with any specific concerns.

“We are going to relocate some of the shrubs from the kerbed islands to other beds on the edge of the car park and improve the other remaining planted areas. Once other improvements are completed, we can look at some other small areas for possible planting.”

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