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Tree-planting is defended amid ‘eyesore’ claim

The ongoing effort to plant thousands of trees in Congleton will leave green spaces looking like an “eyesore”, it has been claimed.

A group called Trees for Congleton hopes to plant 30,000 over five years to support the town council’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Volunteers have already planted hedgerows on Isis Close, Derwent Drive and Windsor Place after the group made an application to the Tree Council for a Community Hedge Fund grant.

The programme will be expanded this year with further tree and hedge planting programmes proposed across the town.

But Congleton resident Rachel Spencer has sent an email to people living in her neighbourhood encouraging them to contact Trees for Congleton asking that it “leaves our green space alone”.

It said: “Beware Goldfinch Close and Quayside, we have received a letter from Trees for Congleton to say that volunteers will be planting trees and hedges on our open green space. Do not be fooled.

“This is not just an environmental project, this is the council cost saving! The plan is to plant trees and hedges that will grow fast to cover the space so the council can cut the cost of mowing the green.

“The residents will not be able to use or see the open green space and it will be left to look like an eyesore!”

Her message to Trees for Congleton was: “Leave our open green space alone. Volunteers, do the right thing and walk away from this project.

She added: “We need to act now and put our comments to treesforcongleton@gmail.com subject quayside/goldfinch close.”

Trees for Congleton is a sub group of Congleton Sustainability Group, which aims to plant a tree or woody shrub, including hedging plants, for every Congleton resident over a period of about six years.

Up to December more than 10,000 trees had been planted, including along the new link road, 16,422m of hedgerow and 815 shrubs.

The group asks residents living near areas where tree or hedge planting is planned for their comments before work starts.

Town councillor Margaret Gartside, a member of Trees for Congleton, said this week: “We take residents’ comments in response to our consultation very seriously. I and Patti Pinto were down at Goldfinch Close talking to residents last week and we do try to address their concerns.

“Sometimes we change the plans and sometimes we go away and come back when things have been thought through. It’s important that we do take the residents with us. It’s no good imposing something they do not want.”

Coun Gartside said she felt “sympathetic” for the residents of the Goldfinch Close area because they had had to put up with all the plant traffic while the housing development was being built.

She explained that it was not Trees For Congleton’s intention to try and reduce the amount of grass cutting carried out by the town council’s Streetscape team.

“Rewilding is not about letting places grow wild but choosing small sections of land to encourage the growth of pollinators,” she said.

The West Heath area is one of the next locations to be earmarked for tree and hedge planting. Locations include Sandbach Road, near Padgbury Lane and Brooklands Road, Holmes Chapel Road near Firbeck Avenue, on Padgbury Lane near the junctions of Ambleside Court and Keswick Court as well as the grassed area between Thirlmere Court and Congleton Road where damson, crab apple and cherry trees would be planted.

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