Popular trees given stay of execution after council chief steps in at last minute
FELLING of the 'iconic' horse chestnuts in Formby has been delayed after the chief executive of Sefton Council intervened to allow an independent report into their condition to be undertaken.
Following the report in last week's Champion, Formby Parish Council are seeking to clarify that they have not yet commissioned an independent survey into the condition of the Chapel Lane trees.
Last week, the Champion revealed that furious residents had saved them by forming a human chain around them.
Although two of the huge, hundred-year-old trees were given a last-minute temporary reprieve, Sefton Council announced that four of the six were still due to be cut down.
But on Friday, February 2, the chief executive, Margaret Carney, intervened and agreed to defer the felling of three of the trees (outside Waterfields, Boots and Cassidy’s) in order for a full, independent and detailed survey to be carried out to determine precisely their condition by Tuesday (February 13).
The report will be 'scrutinised and considered' by Sefton Council – and if any trees are still deemed to need removing, it will now be done in a 'phased approach.'
The smallest tree was felled and the other two trees will be monitored and reassessed later in the year.
A spokesperson for Formby Parish Council said: “We would like to clarify that last week, there had been no report commissioned. The decision has been made by the chief executive of Sefton Council, to defer the felling of the trees for a full, independent and detailed survey to be carried out to determine precisely the condition of the five horse chestnut trees, which should include the requirement to assess the health and safety implications.
“Whilst Sefton Council will not be bound by the inspection, they will consider the results and their own internal experts will scrutinise the report.
“'The inspection must be carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced person, would need to be received by February 13 and the intention would be to carry out any works in the week beginning February 19.
“ It has also been agreed that if any removal of the trees has to take place that it will be on a 'phased approach.'
“This is in response to the direct public pressure put on Sefton Council by the residents and supported by the Parish Council, in order to see that the right actions are taken and that the trees are reduced and maintained properly.
“Formby Parish Council has put this item on their agenda in order to get agreement to fund an independent report.
“It is anticipated that the investigation will be done in the next few days and the report submitted to Sefton Council by February 13.
“The work will need to be paid for by the Formby Parish Council or from other sources. Formal approval for the expenditure will be sought at the meeting on Tuesday, February 6 (yesterday).
“In the meantime, the ground works have been completed to provide pits for new trees which are an essential part of the longer-term planning and which have been funded by Formby Parish Council.”