More £10,000 trees 'not ruled out' if funding is available

There was controversy when the £10,000 trees were planted
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Town hall leaders have not ruled out spending £10,000 on planting individual trees again - but say better planning means costs will most likely be lower in future.

There was uproar when it emerged Blackpool Council had spent £100,000 planting 10 trees in Cookson Street in the town centre in 2019. Then in 2022, the council spent £174,000 planting six trees in Edward Street.

Cookson Street treesCookson Street trees
Cookson Street trees
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On both occasions the eye-watering costs were put down to the need to install additional infrastructure in order to help the trees survive in an urban environment, with the money coming from the £7m government funded Quality Corridors project to upgrade town centre streets.

During an update on the council's current tree planting programme, members of the Climate Change and Environment Scrutiny Committee questioned whether such high costs would be justified again.

Coun Adrian Hoyle said there "was not  a tree in sight" around the new Holiday Inn Hotel due to open shortly on Talbot Road, and asked if there were plans to plant greenery there and queried the cost.

Paul Hodgson, service manager for parks and green open space, said future developments would be better prepared for tree planting by being built with trenches and areas of soil so it was less likely expensive infrastructure would be needed. He added it was hoped to plant trees around the Holiday Inn, and as the area around the building was flagged, it would not require surfaces to be dug up.

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Coun Jane Hugo, cabinet member for climate change, said the council would spend what was needed to plant trees if the funding was available.

She said: "The £10,000 trees do look fantastic in that area. They were funded by the Quality Corridors Fund and if we had not applied for that funding our streets would be bereft of trees. By funding the trees in the correct way and putting the right infrastructure in, we have lots of tall trees in the town centre."

She said if the council had cut corners on the costs the trees "might be dead now". She added: "The funding was there and the outcome was great, so there might be times in the future when it is the right thing to do."

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