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A Lichfield man has criticised the “disregard” for the feelings of families who planted remembrance trees that have been cut down to make way for the new southern bypass.
Bob Harrison, his mother, wife and sons aged two and six, were among a group of families invited to plant the trees on the land between London Road and Wordsworth Close.
But the area has now been cordoned off and the trees chopped down by Staffordshire County Council as part of preparatory works for the new road.
Mr Harrison said: “The idea was to plant these trees with loved family members and return back to the tree 50 years later to remember this lovely day, and to also remember those family members who helped us and who are no longer with us.
“To that end, we were all given a certificate to mark the occasion and to remind us to return to the tree in November 2036.
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“Since that time, the tree has taken on more relevance following the passing of my mum, and has become even more poignant after the death of my wife eight years ago.”
Mr Harrison discovered the trees fate when he tried to visit it recently.
He said: “I walk my dog past these trees most days and spend a moment in quiet reflection, so you can understand my feelings when I passed by this week when, not only could I not get access to the tree but find that it has been felled.
“While I understand that the southern bypass is to be run through this area, I cannot believe the crass nature in which the work is being undertaken with total disregard for the feelings of the people that entered into this remembrance effort 32 years ago.”
Cllr Mark Winnington, from Staffordshire County Council, said he was sorry to hear of the tree’s significance, but said no concerns had been raised by other local groups when the plans were drawn up.
“We regret that this tree which had sentimental value has had to be removed as part of the southern bypass works,” he said.
“Unfortunately it had been planted on a route which had been protected since the 1960s and the county council consulted with both district and city councils with no issues raised.
“There were no tree protection orders and nothing to distinguish this tree.
“We also held a public information event in December to ensure people knew of the details of the works programme and again no concerns were raised about the removal of trees.”