Anger as council cuts down cherry trees

Gail Bryden. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
Gail Bryden. 'Picture: Neil Hanna
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PROTESTERS have managed to halt the felling of cherry trees in a city garden despite the work being done as part of a restoration project.

Residents in Gardner’s Crescent, Fountainbridge, were dismayed to find council workmen taking the axe to the trees as part of a scheme to return the communal area to its 19th-century layout.

The project, which includes planting lime trees, is being carried out by the council in partnership with the Friends of Gardner’s Crescent and Edinburgh World Heritage.

However, not all those living in the street want to see the cherry blossom disappear and they have told the workmen so.

Aromatherapist Gail Bryden, who has lived in Gardner’s Crescent for more than a decade, said the council had cut down some trees last year, but then stopped, and gave up again yesterday after chopping down just one tree.

She said: “There were five trees when I went out in the morning. I came back and they were chopping down one of them.

“Their intention was to take them all down, but the neighbours saw what was happening and stood by the other trees. One neighbour went up to the guys and said we’re not all in favour of this, and half an hour later they drove off.”

She praised the Friends for their efforts in raising money and getting the garden landscaped, but said: “You don’t need to take down the existing trees to achieve that. They could be incorporated into the new design. It can take at least 25 years for new trees to become established.”

Ms Bryden said she was not sure when or if the workmen would return, but she added: “We’re all on tree alert now.”

The council insisted the felling had always been planned as a phased removal and said the community had been consulted. A spokeswoman said: “As part of the project to replicate the garden’s original layout we found that cherry trees were not the type of foliage originally growing there, so this year we will be planting lime and oak trees, which are more appropriate.

“Many of the trees were also too close together and were overhanging the fence.”