Tuesday 23 July 2024
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Protesters warned about trespassing as council prepares to fell four trees

A Nottinghamshire council has confirmed its plans to fell four trees – and warned protesters they will be trespassing by visiting the site.

Newark and Sherwood District Council plans to fence off the site in London Road before the trees are felled and the land is turned into a 36-space car park.

The council is in a legally binding agreement with the developer who owns the land – and claims that reversing its decision to chop the trees would cost the taxpayer £1m.

‘Stop the Chop’ campaigners said the situation was “heating up” this week after protesters were issued with a notice which said they would be trespassing if they remained at the site. Signs have also been erected at the site reading ‘private land, no trespassing’.

Some campaigners are now sleeping at the site in a tent while others monitor it during the day.

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The council said in a statement: “The site will be fenced off – we need to stress that this is private land and not public open space. An ecologist will undertake an assessment of the site and, subject to their findings, the trees will be removed. Before any tree removal works are undertaken, the ecologist’s findings will be taken into account.”

Jenni Harding of Protect Newark’s Green Spaces said: “It has really heated up.

“Yesterday the council put signs in the grounds saying this is private land.

“We don’t think there’s any legal basis on those signs, we think they are trying to scare us.

“We have sent a letter to Robert Jenrick MP asking for a meeting. We must stop going down this road.

“We have a marquee up and everybody has been so supportive. We have also had a couple of people sleeping there overnight in a tent.

“We want mediation and engagement. We want to sit down around a table with people from the council, Robert Jenrick and the developer and work out what can be done to save the trees.”

Protesters also insist they will continue to fight for the sycamore trees on the basis of “firm evidence” of the presence of bats within the trees.

Last week, the council issued a Q&A statement on their website, including a message to campaigners which read: “Councillors are stuck between a rock and a hard place on this decision. They have listened to your concerns and are acutely aware of how strongly some people feel. But they have been elected to represent the whole of Newark and Sherwood and to make decisions, tough as this one is.

“Additional Council and police resources will now be deployed to progress the ecology survey, fencing works and tree works. It is sincerely hoped that these activities are able to proceed without further interference.”

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