Blackpool Council's Oxford Square 'pruning' is branded a hatchet job

The cutting down of shrubs close to a busy Marton junction has been called a 'hatchet job'.

Thursday, 15th November 2018, 2:36 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th November 2018, 3:54 pm
The monument left on its own after council cut away bushes and removed rocks.
The monument left on its own after council cut away bushes and removed rocks.

The council said “pruning” at Oxford Square was needed to improve safety and to stop litter blighting the area.

But Philip Walsh, the chairman of the Marton Heritage Group, spoke of his concern for a now “exposed” granite stone which commemorates the site of the original Baines school.

He said: “It would be terrible if it was vandalised. I totally appreciate the safety aspect and in a way it is a good job but it is too much. I would hope they would put in some small shrubs around it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Blackpool Council said it needed to cut the bushed back due to sight problems and litter.

“When we first installed the stone last year we knew the bushes had got far to big. It was initially meant to be a rockery at the site but this has changed over the years.

“We were totally surprised at how much they have cut it back. It looks like a hatchet job and the stone looks very isolated on its own now.”

A spokesman for Blackpool Council said: “The Oxford Square site has been pruned to improve sight lines around the area.

“Shrub removal was agreed as there was a large amount of debris on site that had been there for many years and had become entangled in the overgrowth.

Pictured is mayor Kath Rowson, Philip Walsh chairman of Marton Heritage Group and trustee Glenis Taylor at the unveiling of the stone in 2017.

“We will be grass seeding this area. Sight lines have improved around the junction and there should be a reduction in the amount of litter.”

The council also said the Baines stone (left) has “nothing to do with the maintenance” and will remain where it is.

The large granite stone was erected on January 9 2017 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Baines’ Endowned Schools which stood at the site.

James Baines lends his name to three schools along our coast – in Marton, Thornton and Poulton.

The Poulton woolen-draper saw the need for free schools and bought land for them. He died in 1717.