A ZOOLOGIST has slammed the decision to fell a 19-foot tall cottonwood tree as part of a massive development.
Activists last Saturday ‘occupied’ the 32-year-old Poplar by building a tree house in Brighton Road, Shoreham.
George McGavin PhD, a zoologist and TV host, described plans to trim it as “an absolute disgrace.”
Activists fear it could be scrapped as early as October or November after plans for a 159-flat development in the former Shoreham Civic Center were approved in March.
George, 68, said: “We need every mature tree we can call together, especially in urban areas.
“Can’t we have a building plan that doesn’t take existing mature trees into account? Holy Moly, haven’t we learned anything? We’re facing a maelstrom and they’ll still cut down that one poplar.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. It’s criminally insane. There’s no doubt about it.
“In this little corner they can buy five additional apartments or whatever for more money. When will we learn that making money isn’t as important as people think it is.
“Is it beyond human understanding to redesign it and make it a community space? I’m really mad about it.
“It can only be a tree, it doesn’t matter which one. The fact is that we can’t cut down nature anymore.”
The site is being developed by Hyde Housing who will plant 20 trees in the development.
Hyde Housing initially proposed an 11-storey tower with 171 apartments on the site, but this was withdrawn due to community concerns about the height.
The new building will be between seven and nine stories high and will contain 159 apartments.
Asked about the developer’s plans for planting trees, George said: “If they’re seedlings, they probably won’t even survive – half of them.
“Old trees should have a right to stay, we should plan around what is already there.
“This is an abomination, this is a tree that has served well for many years. There are also the insects and fungi. If this continues, we are heading for a sterile, dead planet.”
Hyde Housing confirmed to The Argus that semi-mature trees will be planted, which will be around twenty feet tall.
Andy Hunt, senior development manager at Hyde Group, said: “We understand the deep feelings that the poplar is being felled.
“Our proposed program will allow for an extensive tree planting program along the Brighton Road and Ham Road boundaries of our site which will enhance the landscape and also support wildlife.
“The Adur District Council, which gave the necessary planning approval, has approved the removal of the tree and has ensured adequate tree planting as part of the plan throughout the planning process.
“Poplar trees have a typical lifespan of around 30 to 50 years and eventually need to be felled to protect local buildings. The development will provide 159 much needed social and affordable housing for the local community in Shoreham.
“We will plant half-grown trees that will be at least six meters tall. They are cared for by West Sussex County Council.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20895655.zoologist-george-mcgavin-slams-decision-chop-shoreham-tree/?ref=rss Zoologist George McGavin criticizes the decision to fell the Shoreham tree