Tree trou­ble Fears from res­i­dents over car park ex­pan­sion

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By ROBIN JENK­INS

PEO­PLE liv­ing next to Chel­tenham Rail­way Sta­tion’s car park fear the ax­ing of trees could make their lives a mis­ery.

A num­ber of trees have been cut down as part of Great West­ern Rail­way’s plans to in­crease the size of the car park, off Queens Road.

And while the com­pany says it is look­ing to plant new trees, res­i­dents say they have been kept in the dark as to how tall they will be.

Their big con­cern is that GWR may run out of money and ditch the plant­ing plan. The res­i­dents claim this was what hap­pened a few years ago when the com­pany ex­tended the car park.

If that were to hap­pen, they fear they would be ex­posed to more light and noise pol­lu­tion – from the trains at the sta­tion, the lights in the car park, ve­hi­cles in the car park and peo­ple gath­er­ing in it.

Kathy and Michael Cole­man live in Kens­ing­ton Av­enue and, with other neigh­bours, have been lob­by­ing GWR on the mat­ter.

Mrs Cole­man said the loss of lots of ma­ture trees on a bund in the car park about three weeks ago had been a big con­cern.

She said: “There is a sense of help­less­ness. They did say they are go­ing to plant some trees in the car park but couldn’t say how big they would be or what it would look like.

“We’re not sure whether they would be short or proper ma­ture trees.”

One of the rea­sons noise was an is­sue, she said, was that there was a lot of antisocial be­hav­iour in the car park. Ra­dios blast­ing out mu­sic, for ex­am­ple, had been a prob­lem for res­i­dents.

The 56-year-old said she and her neigh­bours planned to set up a Kens­ing­ton Av­enue res­i­dents’ group.

A GWR spokesman said: “We are in­creas­ing the size of the car park at Chel­tenham Spa. This is be­ing achieved mainly through the re­moval of the bund in the mid­dle of the car park.

“As the bund is be­ing re­moved, we needed to clear veg­e­ta­tion in­clud­ing some trees.

“We did this at the end of the nest­ing sea­son along with the re­moval and re­lo­ca­tion of slow worms. This work is now com­plete.

“We now ex­pect to re­turn to the site in Oc­to­ber to re­move the bund in ad­vance of the Novem­ber Chel­tenham races.

“This will pave the way for the main con­struc­tion work next year which is likely to start af­ter the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val and be com­pleted by early sum­mer.

“To com­pen­sate for the loss of veg­e­ta­tion on the bund, we have lis­tened to res­i­dents and have been in con­sul­ta­tion with Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil’s tree of­fi­cer, who has re­cently pro­vided feed­back and sug­ges­tions on the plant­ing plan.

“This now in­cludes the ad­di­tion of new trees within the car park, as well as ad­di­tional trees and shrubs on the em­bank­ment, where we have asked our de­sign­ers to pay par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on Queens Road end of Kens­ing­ton Av­enue.

“We will share the fi­nal plan with res­i­dents and will con­firm the tim­ing of plant­ing. This needs to fit with the con­struc­tion pro­gramme and with the nest­ing sea­son.

“We will be up­grad­ing light­ing in the car park with LED and mo­tion sen­si­tive down­light­ing. This will re­duce light spill and mean that the car park is only lit when in use.” robin.jenk­ins@reach­plc.com

Pic­ture: Rose­mary Watts

Res­i­dents of Kens­ing­ton Av­enue in Chel­tenham are not happy with the loss of trees from the rail­way sta­tion car park

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