Residents hold protest at lack of action over tree felling and footpath closure in Broadstairs

Protesters want the area replanted Photo Carl Hudson

More than 50 residents of Park Avenue in Broadstairs turned out on Saturday to protest about what they say is the illegal felling of woodland and closure of the public footpath.

The Park Avenue Woodland Group (PAWG) organised the protest to raise concerns in advance of the full council meeting on September 10. At the meeting a motion will be proposed by Green Councillor Mike Garner in support of a petition calling on the council to force the owner to replant and to commit to the land remaining as open space for the public.

PAWG say they are losing patience with TDC’s lack of action against the landowner, Parkstairs Ltd, since the incident in February and KCC’s unwillingness to continue action over the closure of the footpath.

Karen McKenzie, Tree Warden for Broadstairs & St Peters, said: “We hope to focus the attention of all councillors on this issue, prior to the full council meeting.

Photo Carl Hudson

“This cynical tactic by developers to clear-fell woodland in advance of a planning application, here and across other areas of Thanet, like at Tivoli in Margate, must no longer be allowed to succeed.  These were trees that had a protection order on them and, as such, TDC has an obligation to protect them through the law for the benefit of all residents and not to be ignored for the benefit of housing developers.”

In May The Isle of Thanet News revealed an investigation was being carried out by Thanet council over the removal of the trees and an enforcement notice was also due to be served by Kent County Council due to a dispute over the footpath being closed at the same site.

Photo Carl Hudson

The action was over works carried out in February at woodland off Park Avenue.

Land owner Parkstairs Ltd issued letters to residents prior to the works advising that contractors were to enter the site the next day to undertake health and safety works on some of the trees and paths.

The reasons cited in the letter were that a survey had “identified a number of dead and dying trees which are in a dangerous condition, some of this is due to heavy ivy growth strangling the trees.”

Photo Carl Hudson

The action prompted the protest from PAWG.

PAWG can be contacted on if you would like to lend support or keep up to date with progress.