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Appeal to halt felling of Elizabeth Way roundabout trees





Residents living near the Elizabeth Way roundabout have appealed to the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) to save trees by the roundabout before the felling is completed on Friday (October 21).

West Chesterton resident Katherine at the site on the Elizabeth Way roundabout on Milton Road roundabout which is losing its trees. Picture: Keith Heppell
West Chesterton resident Katherine at the site on the Elizabeth Way roundabout on Milton Road roundabout which is losing its trees. Picture: Keith Heppell

Milton Road is currently undergoing improvement works led by the GCP, which will retain the roundabout while improving access for buses, pedestrians and cyclists.

The felling began on Monday afternoon, when shocked residents of West Chesterton saw tree surgeons cutting down trees on the roundabout at the junction of Elizabeth Way with Milton Road and Highworth Avenue.

Concerned residents contacted the contractors, Milestone Infrastructure, part of M Group Services which is working with the GCP on the Milton Road improvement scheme, on Monday, and the work was halted following the removal of five trees.

The almost-completed work on the Elizabeth Way roundabout at the junction with Milton Road and Highworth Avenue with the trees that are due to be destroyed on Friday. Picture: Keith Heppell
The almost-completed work on the Elizabeth Way roundabout at the junction with Milton Road and Highworth Avenue with the trees that are due to be destroyed on Friday. Picture: Keith Heppell

One West Chesterton resident, Katherine, said on Tuesday (October 18): “The road is moving slightly over and it’s another 25ft before you get from the road to the trees and the contractor said they’ve been told they have to knock all the trees down to work on roundabout and make it smaller but there’s plenty of room to move around. The trees have been the 30 years at least and there’s plenty of room to move the road without chopping the trees down.

“They’re saying they are going to knock down all the existing trees and plant four pairs of deciduous trees, so that means there will be no wind cover which we have at the moment with the ivy around the trees. It will be years before the new trees are grown and do the job the current trees are doing.

“Five different coppices – clumps of trees – have gone. That was about one third of the tree cover. The only reason they stopped was because an ecologist was called in and found a pigeon’s nest.

The stumps after one-third of the trees on the disputed roundabout were felled
The stumps after one-third of the trees on the disputed roundabout were felled

“Everything that could be done on the roundabout has been done, so there’s no physical reason why they need to bulldoze trees except for the claim of it’s neater.

“It would be lovely to stop this if we can – it seems crazy to be knocking trees down to put new ones in because they want it to be smart. They could put all the features they want in and around the existing trees. They don’t need to do this.”

A GCP spokesperson said: “The removal and replacement of a number of trees was included in the public consultation and subsequent construction plans, and the community provided significant help into which trees would be planted. In total, we will plant 194 new trees using a tree pit system which will help them to grow and increase tree canopy cover. Additionally, 4,611 m2 of rain garden and grass and wildflower verges will be put in to significantly enhance biodiversity and to create a greener gateway to the city.

“Vegetation has been removed from the roundabout to enable us to make significant upgrades to it – with the introduction of segregated off-road active travel links and signalised crossings to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

West Chesterton residents have appealed to the GCP for these trees to be spared
West Chesterton residents have appealed to the GCP for these trees to be spared

“We are in constant discussions with our contractors regarding the various stages of works planned for this area to transform walking, cycling and bus journeys along Milton Road. We understand the concerns of local residents through this process, which is why we have done all we can to keep them fully informed about developments and have worked with many of them to ensure there will be more trees flourishing in their neighbourhood at the end of the project then there was before the works began.”

However another resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: “We were never told that this proposal would involve destruction of all mature trees on this roundabout. They block noise and pollution and although I support the goals of making it better for cycling I am very angry that the GCP going to destroy these trees and habitat when they advertised this space as having trees on it and told us the roundabout would not be removed? Now they are saying it is being relocated and all the trees need to go? We are going to fight this.”



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