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Outrage as Ring of Oaks in Shirley is axed

DIGGERS moved-in to tear down Shirley Park’s “ring of oaks” scarcely a week after permission was granted to cut them down.

DIGGERS moved-in to tear down Shirley Park’s “ring of oaks” scarcely a week after permission was granted to cut them down.

It was originally hoped that the ancient circle would be relocated as part of the Parkgate scheme to redevelop the town centre.

But last month, developers Shirley Advance convinced councillors the trees wouldn’t survive the attempt and were given approval to remove them.

Resident Ann Turner said she was shocked with the speed at which they were destroyed - work started last Thursday and by the time she visited first thing Saturday, the oaks - the oldest of which was 350 years old - had been cut down altogether.

“There was a Shirley town centre partnership meeting on Thursday night and no one knew anything about it,” she told us.

“To see them gone is so upsetting. It’s almost as if they [the developers] got it out the way as soon as they could.”

Ann, who had fought for almost a decade to keep the trees, expressed hopes of a permanent replacement in the park.

“I wonder if it would be possible to create a bench or something from some of the larger pieces of wood,” she added.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said she had been “inundated” with emails from angry residents.

“In just days we’ve moved from believing the trees would be preserved to them being totally destroyed.

“I’d got my chains ready to tie myself to them, but things have moved very quickly.”

Former Shirley councillor Tim Hodgson added: “It’s absolutely outrageous, environmental destruction and a broken promise.”

Shirley Advance’s Robert Birch argued the trees were in poor condition and would never have survived relocation.

He added there had never been an agreement to move the circle, only to examine the option.

“The reality is that this area is in desperate need of investment and has to be cleared to make way for the much needed £85m regeneration of Shirley town centre.”

 

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