By Rachel Gardner
A GROUP of residents from St George are angry about plans to remove around 20 mature trees to expand a car park.
But Bristol City Council claims the proposals will make the area safer and put an end to fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.
A planning application has been submitted to change vehicle access to Chalks Road car park, near St George Park, by the city council. It would mean instead of traffic accessing the car park from Chalks Road, it would instead enter through Lyndale Road.
Chalks Road would then become pedestrian access only and smaller trees and shrub beds installed.
One of the two options submitted by the council, known as Option B, proposes that a group of around 20 mature trees, which residents say are at least 50-years-old, would be removed.
However, a Bristol City Council spokeswoman said the area was known as a meeting place for sex workers and a crime hotspot that it aimed to make safer.
Michael Haskins, who lives in Chalks Road, said he was alerted to the proposal when he noticed a small sign on one of the trees.
“I was appalled – I’ve lived here for 48 years and the trees have always been here,” he said. “They are lovely to look at and to take them away without consulting us would be terrible.”
Mr Haskins said the council’s other plan, known as Option A, which would involve the removal of fewer trees, would be preferred.
Barbara Rammelkamp, who lives in Sloan Street and is a member of the Friends of St George Park, also objects to the removal of trees.
She has started a petition to ask the council for more consultation time.
People have until August 3 to lodge any objections but residents want this extended until September 30.
“Ideally we would like to have a meeting with councillors and officers to discuss this proposal further,” said Mrs Rammelkamp.
Trevor Ball, 70, who has lived in Lake View Road for 45 years, spends a lot of his time maintaining the local area. “I’ve planted flower beds and repaired 35 of the 75 benches in the park,” he said.
“The council is meant to have no money, so I don’t understand why it is being wasted on creating a new entrance. As well as getting rid of some beautiful trees, it will mean more traffic in Lyndale Road, which is already clogged with cars.
“The proposal also means the car park’s recycling bins will be moved nearer to houses causing a smell and nuisance to residents.”
A council spokesman said the plans to “plant and enhance” Chalks Road car park, which is free, would “bring more park into the car park”.
She said the scheme would:
– relocate access, which causes congestion in its present location
– install CCTV and better lighting
– plant new flower beds and trees
– remove the scrub and seeded trees which are undermining the paving and tarmac.
“The scheme aims to put an end to fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, and make the area safer,” she said.
Councillor Tim Kent, cabinet member for transport, said: “The free car park is in an ideal location in a local shopping centre which has really taken off since the implementation of the Greater Bristol Bus Network showcase route.
“Giving it a new lease of life will make it an asset to the local community.”
Click here to see the application.