A Bath councillor has expressed his shock at the sudden removal of a number of trees, and the planned removal of their metal planters, along a stretch of the London Road in Bath.
Councillor Richard Samuel, the Liberal Democrat representing Walcot, has revealed that due to safety concerns, the planters, which were installed in 2015 as part of a regeneration scheme of the area, are to be removed and scrapped.
The trees in the containers have already been removed, and are reported to have been replanted elsewhere, though there is evidence that one of them has been sawn off.
The removal of the trees was publicised by broadcaster Richard Wyatt, who created a post questioning what was happening on the Bath Newseum website.
Councillor Samuel said: “The removal of trees from the London Road planters last week came as a complete surprise to me as I am sure it has to everyone else. I was shocked to see last Wednesday that the maturing trees in several of the planters had been uprooted but at least one had been sawn down.
“I made enquiries on Thursday and was told that some of the planters were causing a safety issue for drivers exiting Weymouth St, Bedford St and Snow Hill and were therefore going to be removed.
“The trees I was told were to be replanted elsewhere by the Parks Department. Most shockingly I was told the planters due for removal were going to be scrapped as no-where could be found to relocate them to.”
The trees and their planters were included as part of the 2015 regeneration of the London Road area, in which B&NES Council invested £1million to improve the look, feel, and appearance of the busy stretch of road.
Councillor Samuel continued: “What is most disturbing about this incident is that I have been actively tracking the current major works since last August. I have had discussions about the improvements to the in-bound cycle lane, road markings, the timings of works and diversions, and whether the remaining Anglo Terrace repaving works would be completed.
“However not once has any specific proposal been put to me about the planters that I can trace. I arranged for a discussion with the London Road and Snow Hill Partnership (LRSHP) in October so that they could be briefed.
“I acknowledge that both I and the LRSHP were informed that the question of the siting of the planters was mentioned in the autumn but only to the extent it was to be looked at. No specific proposals came forward for me to comment on.
“I have raised my concerns with both the Cabinet member and officers and as soon as I get a response I will post it. The planters were an integral part of the London Road regeneration scheme and although they have been poorly maintained by the Council they nevertheless introduce some variety into the street scene.
“I will be opposing their relocation and will be asking for the planting to be restored.”
We have asked Bath & North East Somerset Council for a comment regarding this story, and will update it when one is received.