ESSEX: Dunmow councillors raise concern as ancient woodland is demolished

PUBLISHED: 09:20 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 07:36 30 May 2010

LANDOWNERS have been criticised for tearing down ancient trees in order to improve a lake area on the outskirts of Great Dunmow. A Dunmow couple have initiated work in an area of private land north of The Helena Romanes School.

LANDOWNERS have been criticised for tearing down ancient trees in order to improve a lake area on the outskirts of Great Dunmow.

A Dunmow couple have initiated work in an area of private land north of Helena Romanes School which includes cutting down trees and landscaping as part of a scheme to restore a lake, which they say will look "superb when finished."

However, the hasty removal of trees that date back centuries have upset town councillors who are concerned that Dunmow is losing too many areas of woodland.

Cllr Clive Smith said: "I would like to see the landowners replanting the trees in the future but I have to say it is their land and to a certain extent they can do what they like with it.

"What concerns me is that whilst the town council is trying to plant a brand new community woodland on the south east side of town, other trees seem to be disappearing from elsewhere."

The town's residents were saddened to lose a 120-year-old cedar of Lebanon tree from outside the Angel Lane doctors surgery earlier this year after a campaign to save it failed.

And currently there are over 26 tree felling applications going through Uttlesford District Council's planning process just for the Dunmow area.

As a result of the most recent tree felling the UK forestry commission has stepped in to investigate and is currently preparing a report.

Regional director Steve Scott said: "We are looking at the situation and have been down to the site to take pictures so we can produce a complete report.

"The site has been disturbed but we have been made aware that the landowners are just trying to restore the lake and the land surrounding it."

The report is set to be completed within three weeks and it is possible that the commission could ask for the landowners to replant trees as a result.

A solicitor speaking on behalf of the landowners said that replanting is already one of the things that will be done in the future.

"Over the next few years some will be removed as the stronger ones begin to take root," he said.

"But rest assured this is a restoration project and will look superb when it is finished.

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