Row erupts as trees are cut down at Stamford Recreation Ground

Trees being taken down at Stamford Recreation Ground. Members of the Friends of Stamford Recreation Ground are protesting about the trees being taken down. Members Peter Heyes and Anna Wotherspoon stood in front of a large tree situated next to Rock Tennis Club that has since been taken down. Photo: SM130112-017ow
Trees being taken down at Stamford Recreation Ground. Members of the Friends of Stamford Recreation Ground are protesting about the trees being taken down. Members Peter Heyes and Anna Wotherspoon stood in front of a large tree situated next to Rock Tennis Club that has since been taken down. Photo: SM130112-017ow

TEMPERS flared at the Recreation Ground as contractors moved in to cut down a century-old tree.

Stamford Town Council brought in tree surgeons to clear foliage from the Rec last week.

They removed trees near the toilet building off Recreation Ground Road on Thursday to improve visibility and were poised to cut down a 100-year-old Western Red Cedar next to the tennis courts on Friday.

The council said the tree’s roots were damaging the sewage pipes underneath and took advice from experts before carrying out the work. It also said the options were discussed in public.

But some members of the Friends of the Recreation Ground group, which works to improve the park, were angry and said they had not been consulted.

Three of the Friends went to the Rec on Friday to plead with councillors Bob Sandall and David Nalson to delay the work so further discussion could take place.

Treasurer Anna Wotherspoon said the Friends believed the tree roots weren’t damaging the sewage pipes and they could be repaired.

She said: “It is devastating. It will take 50 to 100 years to replace what has been taken out in two days.”

Contractors decided to carry out other work while Friday’s debate was taking place. But yesterday the Western Red Cedar was the last of six trees to be cut down.

A town council statement said the work had been carried out after a request from police to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

The work near Recreation Ground Road would also make way for the new toilet building, which the Friends raised £50,000 for.

The statement said: “Stamford Town Council sought expert advice from the South Kesteven District Council arboriculturist as to how this work could be achieved in the most appropriate and sensitive fashion.

“As part of this process, a specialist firm was commissioned to carry out a thorough CCTV examination of the underground service pipes linked to the public conveniences. This examination showed that sewage pipes were compromised by tree root ingress.

“Stamford Town Council discussed the options available, in open public session, and determined a schedule of remedial works both to meet the police request and as a preventive measure to mitigate the likelihood of significant future expense.”