A LEADING voice against the removal of the London Plane trees on Broad Street has accused council chiefs of ‘misleading’ the public over the costs of their replacement.
Following a four week public consultation in December, Worcestershire County Council said there was no ‘viable alternative’ but to replace the trees with a species called Malus Trilobata.
The council now claim the replacement trees will save the authority a total of £14,000 compared to maintaining the London Plane trees.
Local resident Shirley Agg obtained the figures from Worcestershire County Council but accused the authority of ‘making figures work in their favour’ by claiming the Malus trees won’t need maintaining for the next 15 years.
That’s despite a report from Chartered Forester Jim Unwin who said any replacement trees would need to be maintained otherwise the exact same issues which have befell the London Planes would arise.
Council chiefs want to take action to remove the London Plane trees on Broad Street as they said the roots were causing damage to footpaths and were posing a threat to nearby properties because they weren’t properly maintained.
In costings revealed by the County Council, they claim the new Malus species will only cost them £15,930 to plant, whereas keeping and maintaining the London Plan trees would soar to £29,820.
Mrs Agg has claimed it’s ‘unfair’ to include maintenance costs for one species and not the other, and by doing so has given council chiefs an unfair advantage in the tree saga debate.
“Unless the County Council can be 100 per cent sure the trees will not need maintenance, which I believe they will, they’ve got to include maintenance figures for the pavements. You can’t do it for one tree and not the other, it beggars belief.
“They’re totally misleading to the public. Have they learnt nothing, we’re back to the same situation as we were with the London Plane trees.
“Worcestershire County Council is not being transparent and honest regarding the whole tree saga.
“If they’re saying the Malus trees won’t need maintenance over the next 11 years then we will hold them accountable.
“They’re basically making the figures look good so they can get rid of the London Plane trees. All the public wants is the truth,” she added.
In response, a county council spokesperson said: “The Plane trees currently in place require considerable expenditure on maintenance and safety monitoring.
“This will only increase as the trees grow.
“The option selected by the public following the recent consultation is not an aggressive species and is more suited to the environment.
“It will therefore involve minimal maintenance costs, and reduce safety risks to the public,” he added.