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 [email protected] if you would like to lend support or keep up to date with progress.


  1. Do we really believe that the councillors have any interest in the despoilation of our area? They are ruled by self interest and handouts by interested parties. Look at our fields being built over at Westwood..I wrote to Craig McKinley but he could not be bothered to reply.

  2. Councils have a legal duty to make sure that public footpaths and rights of way remain accessible. Have the protesters tried contacting Ramblers UK for advice?

    • Hi Peter. Yes we did. Unfortunately the Definitive Path in this case was in the wrong location. The local group coordinator has added an evidence statement to our case to re-open the path in the correct location. But the waiting list for PROW issues is now 4 years!!

  3. Forget it, the developer and the planning always win, sorry to be negative but this is how things are….money talks louder then protests

    • We have had some success in other areas in modifying designs in relation to development. But in this case there is no planning application already in, so the Council can make sure that there is a policy in place for this land before there is one. Please join the campaign. We can make a difference

  4. Do we have an over abundance of trees in Thanet, no it’s the complete opposite! I am a DFL and the lack of green spaces and trees was very apparent when I first came here.
    Please let us have the joy of green spaces, it is vital for our mental health.
    There are a staggering amount of houses are being built at Westwood so I think now more than ever we desperately need the trees.
    When they’re all gone it will be too late😡

    • Perhaps we should build the houses up in the trees , people need houses Thatcher sold off all the council house so her mates become rip of landlords. Plus people in big Cities could sell their their council house for big money and move somewhere nicer. We are going to need lots more houses when the airport opens and loads of skilled airport works move into the area.

  5. Is this just a coincidence? But I have just been talking to a Sandwich resident and he described exactly the same thing happening in the middle of the town near the ancient town walls.
    An area of woodland and scrub has just been completely destroyed by the owners-a building company-and local Councillors were never consulted at all! They couldn’t stop it.
    And now they just wait for a Planning application to go in. To build yet more expensive houses that locals can’t afford.
    How can the local Councils object to the new houses? After all, there aren’t any trees or wildlife left on the site!! Nothing left to protect!

    Locals in tears. Up in arms etc.
    But also just angry. Dark mutterings of “backhanders”!

    Yet the Johnson government says they are going to get rid of all the “red tape” and “regulations” that stop more houses being built. What “red tape”? The builders do what they want!

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