A council leader says he is “genuinely sorry” for a saga which almost saw four trees being felled to create a car park extension in Newark.
David Lloyd, the Conservative leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, addressed a council meeting about the events surrounding land off London Road in Newark town centre.
The council eventually reversed the decision to cut down the trees in November following a long campaign by protesters.
The authority later received an independent report which criticised the council and said the environmental impact of the plans was not properly considered.
It concluded the chain of events, including the decision to reverse the plans, cost the taxpayer £500,000.
During the full council meeting on July 19, Cllr Lloyd spoke out about the report for the first time in an open meeting.
He said: “This has been a sorry occasion.
“It should be noted that we responded to both petitions and to the campaign. It should be noted that there has been a reputational and financial impact.
“It will be noted that lessons have very definitely been learned and importantly, that the process of improvement has been under way for some time.
“I think it is also proper that for those who have been involved, to recognise that there have been times of distress, anxiety and heightened tension.
“To those people, I am genuinely sorry and I hope that I speak for all here in saying that.”
The council entered an agreement with Datch Properties Limited to take over the land in 2019 but in November 2021 the authority agreed to buy back the land for £450,000.
It recently put forward ambitious plans to turn the land into a “community space in the heart of Newark” including a garden space with wildflowers, more trees and a pebbled rainwater garden feature.