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Public show their support to save iconic trees

The Lombardy Poplar trees

ALOCALman has proposed that Melksham Town Council start a Crowdfund to raise money to replace any of the trees that may be felled in King George V playing field.

The iconic trees that line the playing field are facing the chop as Wiltshire Council have deemed them to be a risk to public safety after a survey identified that the trees have poor structural condition.

Wiltshire Council wanted to fell 25 trees starting on 31st May but put the plans on hold following strong objections from local people and Melksham Town Council.

Now the town council have commissioned an independent report into the condition of the Lombardy Poplar trees to establish exactly how many of the 25 trees need to be removed for safety reasons. If all of the trees were to be felled, it is unlikely that Wiltshire Council will replace them as there is currently no budget to do so.

At a recent town council meeting it was strongly felt that any trees removed should be replaced with mature trees to help maintain the image of the playing field.

Suggesting a way forward, local man Donald Robson said, “It would be great if the town council could organise a Crowdfund so that the people of Melksham could replace the trees with younger ones, which will then last for another six or seven decades.”

Donald’s idea was met with a round of applause and the support of many of the councillors in attendance. “That’s a wonderful idea,” said Mayor of Melksham Cllr Adrienne Westbrook.

The discussion about the trees at the town council meeting attracted a number of local people wanting to show their support. “These trees are synonymous with Melksham. They are as much a part of the town as the River Avon and the Avon company itself. It’s a shame that we can’t keep them as they are absolutely beautiful.” said one local woman.

At the meeting the town council voted in favour that they request that no decision is made on the removal of the trees until the town council has had the opportunity to review a report conducted by Wiltshire Council.

In the event that Wiltshire Council do deem that the trees be removed, Melksham Town Council will ask Wiltshire Council to carefully consider adopting a staggered removal plan, with the trees most at risk being felled first with them being immediately replaced and then time given before the remaining trees are removed.