Storm clear-up cost more than £28k

CLEARING up the damage caused in the Suffolk Coastal area by the autumn's hurricane-force winds has cost taxpayers more than £28,000.Eleven of the district's 34 countryside sites, commons or open spaces suffered in the storm in late October.

CLEARING up the damage caused in the Suffolk Coastal area by the autumn's hurricane-force winds has cost taxpayers more than £28,000.

Eleven of the district's 34 countryside sites, commons or open spaces suffered in the storm in late October.

Today Felixstowe's 15-acre woodland The Grove, where three-year-old Benjamin Davey died after a tree fell on him, will be re-opened.

The wood on the edge of the town has been closed since the storm.

The extent of damage to the wood only became fully apparent when tree surgeons climbed into the tree canopy.

They had to carry out work on about 230 trees, mainly removing damaged branches. They also had to fell a small number of trees which had become unstable or badly damaged.

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Councillor Maggy Wilson, cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: "We are pleased to be able to re-open the wood in the knowledge that, in normal weather conditions, it is again a safe place for people to walk through and enjoy."

The legal order closing the public right of way through the site until March 31 has been lifted.

Benjamin was killed as he walked through the wood with his mum Veronica Deri. He suffered fatal head injuries when a tree landed on him.

He was rushed to Felixstowe General Hospital, but there was nothing the doctors and nurses could do to save him.

Ms Deri and her partner, Benjamin's dad Andrew Davey, of Looe Road, Old Felixstowe, said Benjamin had loved nature and trees and wanted to walk through the wood.

They said they had felt safe and sheltered from the wind inside the wood, where many other people were also walking that day.

The council is continuing to assist the Health and Safety Executive in an investigation of the tragedy.

The council did not close its woodland and parks like some other councils when the gale force winds were forecast.

The Grove remained open until 24 hours after Benjamin was killed.

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