The chainsaws are back: Plymouth Council culls more trees in bid to 'stop people having sex in public'

26 May 2023, 06:39 | Updated: 26 May 2023, 07:50

Plymouth’s Armada Way where trees were previously culled.
Plymouth’s Armada Way where trees were previously culled. Picture: Alamy
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Plymouth's local council is under fire once again as their recent choice to remove trees near a waterfront shelter sparks controversy.

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The last time Plymouth trees were felled there was a national outcry, the council leader resigned and Labour swept to power in the local elections.

Local authorities claimed the move was part of an attempt to deter illicit activities, such as outdoor sex and drug-related incidents, which have plagued the area.

However, critics argue that the council's action reflects a broader disregard for the city's verdant heritage.

Previous incidents, like the mysterious removal of trees on Armada Way, left residents concerned about the impact on the environment and local wildlife.

Residents have taken to social media to express their frustration, believing that the council is too quick to cut down trees without considering the city's natural beauty and ecological importance.

The council has apologised to the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum for the lack of communication surrounding the felling and has pledged to replant new trees that promote biodiversity and support insect populations.

Similar controversies have arisen in other cities, indicating a wider discussion about the balance between development and environmental preservation.

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'Typical bureaucratic nightmare run by a bunch of little Hitlers': Caller on Plymouth council felling trees

A council spokesperson said: “The area around the Belvedere shelter has suffered from growing anti-social behaviour, with council officers regularly having to clean up sex and drug paraphernalia.”

The spokesperson added: “As part of our regular programme of maintenance, and following feedback from the community, including local groups, we have been keen to clean-up this space on the Hoe and make it more welcoming and safe for both residents and visitors.

“Over the past few years we have already carried out improvement works on two other shelters, which has received positive feedback. In the latest works, carried out on the final shelter on April 23, we removed large shrubs, including cabbage palms.”

The council stressed new plants would be installed. The spokesperson said: “We will be replacing them with planting that has improved biodiversity benefits and provides a better home to bees and bugs.

“Works were carried out in consultation with an ecologist, who confirmed that there were no birds nesting. We apologise to the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum that we did not keep them up-to-date with the detail of these works. Community engagement will be a priority moving forward.”