Trees to be replanted at County Hall

Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson and Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, oversee the removal of stumps of the trees that were cut down earlier this year.
Northumberland County Council leader Peter Jackson and Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, oversee the removal of stumps of the trees that were cut down earlier this year.

Work is under way at County Hall in Morpeth to plant new trees to replace those that were felled earlier this year.

The 90 mature trees were controversially chopped down ahead of Northumberland County Council planning decisions on 200 new houses and the relocation of Morpeth First School.

The felling, which took place under the previous Labour administration, caused uproar amongst the local community and a group of protesters had to be escorted from the site by police after stopping the work.

A Forestry Commission investigation subsequently found that the county council did not have the necessary felling licence to carry out the work.

The planning applications for the houses and school have been withdrawn.

After taking office on Wednesday, the new Conservative administration responded immediately to calls from residents for new trees to be planted.

Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We will plant 150 new trees on the approach to County Hall and within the inner quadrant that is used by staff at lunchtime.

“This will go some way to rectify the needless actions of the previous administration.

“Work has started to remove the stumps that were left as a reminder of the destruction. The new trees will all be planted by the end of June and will use some of the same varieties as those felled earlier this year.”

This news has been welcomed by local residents, including Ken Kirkbride who lives next to County Hall and was one of the protesters back in February.

He said: “I am delighted that the trees will be replaced and it is a disgrace that they were felled in the first place.

“The former council leader, Coun Grant Davey, should issue a public apology.”