Felixstowe: Pledge to plant new trees

FELIXSTOWE: It may never look the same, but new trees will be planted in the town’s best-known avenue, it was pledged today.

Residents are preparing for the felling of a set of much-loved horse chestnuts which have graced Beatrice Avenue for eight decades – after a last-ditch bid to save them failed.

Campaigner Nick Hammond commissioned his own specialist survey of the specimens after being convinced they were still alive.

But experts he brought in agreed with the county council’s tree surgeons’ findings that the trees are dead or diseased and should face the axe.

“As soon as we walked up and down the avenue and the tree surgeon pointed out the various tell-tale signs it was quite clear that these trees are in a bad way,” said Mr Hammond, of High Beach, Felixstowe, who commissioned the private survey.

“A lot of them substantially are dead and some of the ones which are not being cut down are also looking in a bad way and could need to go fairly soon. It is a great shame.”

The nine – including seven 80-year-old horse chestnuts and two much younger alders – in Beatrice Avenue should have been taken down last week, but the challenge to the council’s evidence delayed the work.

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Andy Smith, chairman of the plans committee at Felixstowe Town Council, said: “It was sad in one way that the private report also found the trees were dead or diseased, but we welcomed the process that was gone through in that the conclusion was the same as the council’s own original findings.”

Mr Smith said replacement trees – not horse chestnuts, which countrywide are being savaged by a killer virus – would be planted in Beatrice Avenue to ensure the very best possible avenue vista was kept.

n What do you think of the felling? Write to Your Letter, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk