Historic lime tree avenue set for the chop

A COUNCIL is to remove trees from a busy street which it claims are in poor health.

Doncaster Council (DMBC) wants to remove and replace the existing trees on a stretch of Bawtry Road, Tickhill.

It says that experts have declared the lime trees – planted to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 – are declining.

Tickhill Town Council, with the local community, raised £14,000 to purchase 80 oak trees in 2009 which are now ready to replace the 64 lime trees.

Replanting is due to take place in instalments from next month.

The council says that the current lime trees would cost £20,000 a year to maintain and would require regular inspections and dead wood collections.

A spokesperson said: “Doncaster Council reached the decision that in view of the high maintenance costs and safety concerns the existing lime trees should be replaced.

“Replacing the trees with more durable oaks, which are less susceptible to suffering from road salt, will significantly reduce ongoing maintenance costs, and provide a longer-lasting avenue of trees as people approach Tickhill.”

Cllr James Hart, ward member for Tickhill and Wadworth on Doncaster Council, said: “I am pleased to see the tree replacement starting soon, and even happier that the work will be carried out in instalments to minimise the impact for people travelling to and from Tickhill.

“The trees have looked shabby and sparse for some time now, and with this work we can help to get Bawtry Road looking as great as it did ten or 15 years ago.”

Tickhill Town Council’s former leader Cllr Raymond Hill was determined to ensure that Tickhill would retain an avenue of trees and set about raising funds for it to happen.

Tickhill mayor Cllr Brian Keith said he was not expecting any resistance to the plan.

He said: “I am not expecting any response.

“A lot of the trees have already gone and some are diseased.

“It’s up to people who want to protest.”

Mr Keith said that four years ago local people attended a meeting and voiced support for replacing the lime trees.

But Tickhill resident Don Gill is furious and claimed the lime trees are a “living jewel”. 

He said: “DMBC has been wanting to chop these trees down since 1995 and it has had the subject on its agenda ever since.

“The local authority has taken Tickhill Town Council along with it by saying continually that the trees are diseased and dying and that felling is necessary so that money will not be spent on their maintenance. 

“After the people’s protest in 2012 when a substantial number of residents said that they were against the axing of the trees, DMBC appointed aboricultural consultants Jonathan Cocking Associates (JCA) to carry out a high tech survey of all the trees.

"As a result the company declared all but three of the trees to be in a sound and healthy condition and added that the trees did not pose a danger to anyone.

"Following this finding DMBC declared that they would remove the three trees in question and carry out regular maintenance on the avenue.

“In March this year two JCA aboriculturalists carried out a survey on the trees and again declared to me in person that they were not dying but that they were in a healthy condition.”

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “I totally understand concern about the Bawtry Road, near Tickhill which is a beautiful tree-lined road.  

"However, I can’t fault Tickhill Town Council, who foresaw the problems of the ageing lime trees by investing in 80 new oak trees.

"These trees are now six years old and will more than replace the loss of the lime trees.

“Tickhill has a proud tradition of tree planting, dating back to the planting of the Jubilee Wood. To have new English oak trees in the parish is to be welcomed.”