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Video: Newark MP discusses tree felling controversy with council

The fate of four trees due to be cut down to make way for a car park in Newark has been discussed by the local council and the town’s MP.

Conservative Robert Jenrick spoke privately with leaders of Newark and Sherwood District Council last week over the council’s controversial plans to fell the four trees.

The authority approved the plan last month in order to carry out a legally binding agreement to create 36 new spaces at its London Road Car Park.

Local campaigners ‘Stop the Chop’ and other groups have been running protests against the plans. Some have vowed to obstruct any attempts to carry out the felling.

•  Campaigners to chain themselves to trees to stop them being cut down

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A spokesperson for Conservative-led Newark and Sherwood District Council said the conversation with Mr Jenrick about the trees was part of a regular meeting where a number of items were discussed.

The authority says it would cost the taxpayer more than £600,000 to save the trees due to the legally binding contract between the council and a developer.

Campaigners also said Mr Jenrick spoke with them on Friday (October 29).

Jenni Harris of Save Newark’s Green Spaces said: “We thought it was terrific that we had a visit from Robert Jenrick.

“We had no warning he was coming and he didn’t stay long. A few of us have written to him thanking him for coming.

“But he has always maintained that he can’t get involved in local planning issues.”

The group is also hoping that new evidence of bat calls in the area will halt the council’s plans.

They said independent conservation group St George’s Trust, who visited the site last month, detected 108 bat calls in 40 minutes. Bats are protected by law meaning that any trees used by bats for roosts must be surveyed.

A Newark and Sherwood District Council spokesperson said: “MP Robert Jenrick did visit the District Council offices on Friday 29 October.  This was a regular meeting that is held between MP Robert Jenrick and the Chief Executive and Leader of his local District Council.  The London Road car park was just one of a number of items that were discussed.”

Mr Jenrick declined to comment.

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