Tree and wall removal – ‘risk to public safety is too great’

Three sycamore trees that pose a serious threat to a dangerous wall in Old Town will be removed this week in the interests of public safety.

The trees and the cracked wall have become a major concern, with experts fearful that the trees could bring down the wall or a wall collapse could result in the trees falling.

The sycamores, on the junction of Victoria Drive and Victoria Gardens, are a self-seeded invasive species, but will be replaced with native mature saplings.

Councillor Jonathan Dow, Cabinet Member for Sustainability, said:

“This is a regrettable but necessary decision to remove the threat of the trees falling or the wall collapsing, the potential consequences of either are unthinkable.

“We hoped to avoid taking down the trees but having consulted a range of experts, including East Sussex Building Control Partnership and tree specialists, there is unanimous agreement that the risk to public safety is too great.

“The new trees will be planted in a more considered way and spaced to ensure their longevity.”

The other sycamore trees adjacent to the three being removed will be kept under review. The developer of the new health centre on the adjacent site has agreed to change their plans for the new entrance, meaning three beech trees will be retained.

Councillor Dow added:

“My starting point in all these discussions has been to keep the trees at all costs, but when the risk to the public is so severe the decision was made for me.

“This a sad but unavoidable result, but I’m pleased we will have new trees planted that are better suited to this area and that the developer has agreed a variation in the plans to keep three beech trees.”