Arras Square trees set for the chop as council looks to boost Ipswich

The trees in Arras Square need to be cut back or removed says Ipswich council. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The trees in Arras Square need to be cut back or removed says Ipswich council. Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Ipswich council is hoping to be able to start cutting back trees in Arras Square during the spring.

The authority has officially asked its planning department for permission to cut back or remove many of the trees in the area which contribute to make it dark and forbidding to visitors – and also are causing serious damage to the paving and potentially to buildings in the area.

It wants to remove two trees altogether – a yew next to St Stephens church with roots heading towards the building – and a robinia near the back of the old BHS building which has been overgrown by other trees in the area.

Arras Square is one of the projects that the borough is looking to improve by repaving and trying to turn it into a more attractive area for shoppers and other visitors.

It was created when the Buttermarket centre was opened in 1992 – but much of the paving is now cracked and broken and the trees are causing serious problems.

However a spokesman for the borough said the proposed changes to the trees would have to go ahead whether Arras Square was first on the list to be improved or not.

He said: “We need to get on and do this work whether or not Arras Square is the first area completed. Some of the trees are in real danger of causing damage – and the others are just too large.”

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The yew tree that is coming out is so close to St Stephen’s church that its roots are thought to be in danger of undermining its foundations. The church is now Ipswich’s tourist information centre.

And the robinia trees’ roots are so close together that they are struggling to compete for water – forcing them to the surface and undermining the paving.

The repaving of Arras Square is one of four options put forward by Ipswich Council in its public realm strategy for a public consultation exercise. It plans to spend £3m – and that may cover all four areas – but it wants to know which to complete first.

A poll run in this newspaper showed that Arras Square was the favourite for the 800 people who took part – followed by Major’s Corner, the bottom of Lloyds Avenue and a proposal to improve Princes Street bridge.

The borough’s consultation ends later this month, but its findings are understood to be similar to our poll.

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