THE debate surrounding the future of 48 English oak trees on Tamworth’s King George V Ave has escalated, with the National Trust stepping in and calling for Tamworth Regional Council to abandon any proposals removing any of the trees for road-widening.
In a letter addressed to Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett, the trust’s conservation manager, Graham Quint, said the trust had “deep concerns” and was opposed to the council’s proposal to remove the 48 oak trees on the southern side of the avenue.
“The trust was also disappointed to find that the planting of these English oaks along the old Lower Nemingha Rd, renamed King George V Ave as a memorial to King George V, is not listed as a heritage item on council’s Tamworth Regional Local Environmental Plan 2010,” the letter said.
“The trust understands a 2009 report by Australian Tree Consultants on part of the avenue of trees had noted that none of the recommendations for the care of the trees to ensure their ongoing health in an earlier 2002 report to Tamworth Regional Council had been taken up by council.”
Mr Quint went on to suggest the council, in addition to abandoning plans for the removal of the trees, recognise the heritage significance of the avenue and its oaks by listing them as a heritage item on its Local Environmental Plan.
Mr Quint told The Leader yesterday his attention had been drawn to the issue of the trees by members of its Landscape Heritage Conservation Committee who were also members of the Australian Garden History
When asked if the trust acknowledged provisions had been made by the developer to replace the trees with healthier, mature trees in the event the DA was approved and the road went ahead, Mr Quint said while the trust understood the proposed was to widen the road and replace the trees, it opposed the development proposal.
“The trust has under consideration the listing of the avenue on the National Trust Register and is disappointed that the trees are not listed as a heritage item on Tamworth Regional Council’s Local Environmental Plan,” he said.
Mr Paul Bennett confirmed his receipt of the letter.
“The National Trust is a highly regarded organisation and their comments will be taken into consideration by the council as part of its deliberation of the draft site-specific development controls for the proposed Peel River Estate at Calala,” Mr Bennett said.
Mr Bennett said the National Trust letter incorrectly referred to a “council proposal to remove more than 40 English oak trees from King George V Ave”.
“It is the developer of the proposed Peel River Estate which proposes to remove some of the trees from King George V Ave and replace them with advanced trees of the same type as part of their suggestion to provide an additional access road from the Calala to the CBD,” he said.
“However, I want to stress that there has been absolutely no decision made by council to date – the proposal is on public exhibition until April 4 to allow the whole community to make comment.”