Controversy over tree felling at St Albans station

PUBLISHED: 06:24 03 June 2013

The trees in St Albans City station car park

The trees in St Albans City station car park

Archant

A ROW of large trees is facing the chop at St Albans train station after a rail firm has put forward what has been branded an “objectionable” proposal.

First Capital Connect (FCC) plans to cut down seven trees that separate the station car park from Ridgmont Road – a conservation area – as they claim heavy ivy growth is affecting their health.

But a livid local commuter is urging the train operator to press pause on the work as he maintains it would throw up a number of serious problems.

Andy Dixon, of Waverley Road, who is currently drawing up a petition opposing the plans, said: “Tree felling on that level I cannot see any justification for at all.

“I think it is particularly disappointing considering the district council want to spend a lot of money planting saplings on Victoria Street.

“Trees absorb noise pollution which is particularly important for people living by the station. Trees are also important for flood water and my understanding is there is a problem with waterlogging in the car park.”

He went on: “I think it is a completely objectionable proposal.”

Cllr Michael Green, who represents St Peter’s ward, has also slammed FCC. He commented: “These trees provide essential screening of the train station for nearby residents and add biodiversity to a heavily built up area.

“Remedial work is fine but this simply appears to be vandalism.

“FCC need to think again while the district council should place a Tree Preservation Order on these trees to protect them in the future.”

The application, currently under consideration by St Albans district council’s planning officers, outlines the intention to cut down five sycamore trees, one shrub tree and one pine tree, as well as trim back several others.

FCC spokesman Roger Perkins said: “Unfortunately this work has to be carried out to keep the trees healthy and ensure there is no safety risk to anyone passing beneath them.

“It has been recommended by a horticultural specialist who we commissioned after people using the car park said they were worried about their condition.”

The company also said they are committed to planting new trees in replacement, and if permission is granted they will liaise with local residents about when the work would be carried out.

Mr Perkins added: “Every effort will be made to minimise the noise and inconvenience.”


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