Centre trees must come down

Safety fears mean two large horse chestnut trees near the River Park Leisure Centre, Winchester, are being taken down.

Two of the trees near to the centre's entrance road were found to be in a dangerous condition, because of decay within the trunks, during a routine inspection by Winchester City Council tree preservation experts.

The trees will be felled by skilled tree surgeons and the limbs removed and chipped on site to provide mulch for the surrounding borders. The trees will be replaced with newly planted species in the autumn, including Hornbeam, Larch and Birch to compliment the other existing trees in the area.

Because of the scale of the work local residents and leisure centre customers are being notified of the proposals but access for customers at the leisure centre will not be affected as traffic can be routed around the areas while work is completed.

Councillor Jim Wagner, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health, said it is always disappointing when longstanding trees have to be removed as they provide an important backdrop to many locations in Winchester.

"However, when they are found to be in a dangerous condition we have no option but to take action. We hope that the new trees will eventually serve to replace the two that have to be removed for solely safety reasons," he added.