Fight on to save trees in Harpenden

Alan Jackson said members of the public have not been properly informed of the plans to demolish the trees.

Alan Jackson said members of the public have not been properly informed of the plans to demolish the trees.

First published in News St Albans & Harpenden Review: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A Harpenden man is urging other residents to speak against council plans to cut down 11 trees to make way for an access ramp to the Nickey Line.

Alan Jackson said members of the public have not been properly informed of St Albans District Council’s plans to demolish the tress which stand next to the former railway bridge in Ambrose Lane.

Mr Jackson says the trees are attached with notices – however, there were no details of consultation for residents to put forward opinions.

On seeing the notices the 67-year-old complained to the council and an online public consultation was organised to be completed by members of the public by Wednesday, April 10.

Mr Jackson, of Lambourn Gardens, said: “This is not satisfactory. If I hadn’t complained about the trees being cut down, they would have been cut down without any consultation with residents, businesses or stakeholders.

“Most of these trees are environmentally important – they enhance the character and appearance of the road; they soften the skyline and conceal nearby unattractive features and they form part of a wildlife corridor.”

Mr Jackson and his wife Jenny are both members of the Friends of the Nickey Line and said they are not against proposals to build an access ramp and resurface the pathways.

However, they say there must be other alternatives to cutting down the trees.

Mr Jackson said: “We don’t have anything against an access ramp because it is very much needed.

“However, this has been rushed and residents have not been properly informed.

“It seems like the council has an availability of money and just wants to spend it while it is there.

“Trees add value to the attractiveness of towns and councils have a legal duty to protect them.

“The proposed ramp could be sited where the loss of trees would be far less noticeable and the access point a little safer.”

Mr Jackson has been rallying support from residents to urge them to put forward their opinions online.

Richard Shwe, head of community services at the district council, said the proposals include plans to resurface the path between Holly Bush Lane and “5 Way Cross”, Townsend Lane to provide a 2.5m wide, all-weather path for pedestrians, cyclists and people using wheelchairs and child buggies.

He said: “There are proposals to replace the access steps at Park Hill that are currently closed and to construct an access ramp at Ambrose Lane.

“Some trees may have to be removed to make way for this ramp and notices have been put up to identify the trees that may be affected.

“We are now consulting on these proposals in line with our original project plan.

“We are also discussing the proposals with community stakeholders.”

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