A Cherry Tree ‘avenue’ being removed from Ellington Park in Ramsgate will be replaced with new trees, says Thanet council.
Last month the felling of the trees, as part of the project to build a new cafe, restored terrace, new playground and landscaping was interrupted when protestors from Thanet’s Green Party attempted to stop the trees being cut.
She said campaigners wanted to see saplings planted and to be able to take hold and get established before mature trees were removed.
Following the protest works were halted until a meeting was held on January 5. This was attended by Thanet District Council leader Rick Everitt, Cabinet member Cllr Steve Albon and other elected members, representatives from Ramsgate Street Trees and the Ellington Park project team and Friends of Ellington Park.
Agreement has been reached between all involved and work will go ahead for the trees to be removed and replaced with ornamental cherry trees that will be 4 to 5 metres tall, weigh around 300 kilos and will be mechanically lifted in and planted by an experienced landscape contractor.
Some 20 trees had been identified as diseased and within the final five years of their lifespan.
Cllr Albon said: “In 2019 we set out an ambitious plan for Ellington Park in Ramsgate, in partnership with the Friends of Ellington Park (FOEP).
“Following extensive consultation with the community plans to renovate the historic bandstand; restore the best features of the original 1893 Joseph Cheal landscape scheme; improve play facilities; and provide a much needed café and toilets were approved.
“Work began on the bandstand in the summer of 2020 and in autumn we broke ground for the café. Part of the work to restore the Joseph Cheal landscape scheme involved a thorough analysis and advice of tree surgeons, arboriculturists and landscape architects, which noted over 20 trees in the park that were diseased and within the final five years of their lifespan.
“Many of these trees were at risk of storm damage, where falling boughs create a potential risk to life. These potentially dangerous trees were marked for removal and many more younger trees will be planted across the park to replace them.
“In December, a number of individuals attended the Ellington Park site to express their concern about the removal of trees and all works were halted.
“Following a meeting held on January 5 it has been agreed that the plans for tree removals and planting will continue as proposed.
“The new trees will not be saplings. The plan is for ornamental cherry trees that will be 4 to 5 metres tall, weigh around 300 kilos and will be mechanically lifted in and planted by an experienced landscape contractor.
“We recognise that trees are an important part of the local ecology. Any decision to remove them is not taken lightly.
“At the meeting the project team shared information about the need for these particular removals, how trees fit into the overall masterplan for the park as well as details of the final planting scheme.
“I’m pleased to confirm that everyone agreed that these works were for the benefit of the ecology environment and community. As a result works will now proceed without any further delay to the project.”
The contract to build a new cafe, restored terrace, new playground and landscaping in Ellington Park was awarded to BJF Group.
Works are due for completion in early summer 2021. The project will mean the creation of a new community café and toilets, landscape works to conserve the terrace and bring back the Cheal’s landscape scheme and new signage, alongside critical repairs to the pathways. The works will complement the specialist restoration of the bandstand which started in June.
The project Masterplan in full.