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30 trees saved as council refuses GP car park plans

Councillors rejected plans to cut down trees in order to create a car park for a Newark GP surgery.

Barnby Gate GP surgery submitted the plans as part of its effort to move into the former Newark Day Centre residential home on Walker Close.

Thirty trees and the existing storage buildings would have been cleared to provide a 59-space car park.

Newark & Sherwood District Council’s planning committee said while the area desperately need new medical facilities, the loss of the trees would be too severe.

During Thursday’s meeting (January 18) they expressed hope the GP surgery would compromise on its parking requests.

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Chair Councillor Andy Freman (Lab) said: “Thirty trees for 60 parking spaces isn’t a balance I’m in favour of.”

Councillor Emma Oldham (Ind) described the site as a “wildlife stepping stone” for foxes, hedgehogs and birds.

“There is need for medical facilities, and this is a prime location in the area where we need to fill a gap,” she said.

“But planting whips [young trees] to replace 30 mature trees, as the applicant proposes, just isn’t acceptable.”

Councillor Keith Melton (Lib Dem) agreed, saying: “The number of car parking spaces being planned seems excessive – I’m surprised the applicant wasn’t willing to negotiate on this.

“We’re in a climate crisis, and that should be guiding all our decisions.

“Some of the trees seem to be at least 20 years old. Removing them would completely change the area’s ecology.”

The idea of replanting the mature trees in a different location was raised, but officers said it would likely have limited success.

However, councillors were also conscious about causing parking problems if the application was refused.

Councillor Sue Saddington (Con) said: “We need to be careful we’re not forcing patients to park on nearby Hatton Gardens so residents can’t get in themselves.”

Councillor Linda Dales (Con) said: “No one can doubt we need these facilities, and Barnby Gate needs the parking to bring extra clinical services.”

There are nearby pay-and-display car parks in the area which could also be used.

Members of the planning committee unanimously voted against the scheme.

•  Plans to cut down 30 trees to build GP car park

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