Residents warning over threat to wildlife to make way for new Blackpool council houses

Angry residents claim an area of wildlife is being sacrificed for social housing.

Thursday, 6th June 2019, 5:06 pm
Woodland which will be lost

A scheme to demolish flats at Troutbeck Crescent on Mereside and replace them with 75 new homes has been given the go ahead but will mean the loss of woodland on the estate.

But developers, who will build the properties on behalf of Blackpool Coastal Housing which manages council houses on behalf of the council, say they will transplant up to 140 trees into new landscaping.

However residents warned older trees from woodland between Clifton Road and Preston New Road will still be lost.

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Artist's impression of the new homes on Troutbeck Crescent

Judy Furnival told a meeting of the council's planning committee the area had been a bog until a major tree-planting initiative in 2013.

She said: "With the planting of trees over six years that area is nearly dry.

"It has built into quite a nice forest and we have a lot of wildlife including birds, owls, mice and foxes.

"It also acts as a barrier to pollution from the main road.

Troutbeck Crescent flats boarded up ready for demolition

"Some of the trees we have are mature 40-year-old trees and it is proposed that most of these beautiful trees will go.

"We're not against the houses but this area is built on a lake and it is wet."

A report to the planning committee said the trees had been assessed and it had been found "the development would require the removal of two moderate quality trees, one moderate quality group, three low quality trees, four low quality groups and part of two further low quality groups.

"Additionally, one group considered unsuitable for retention is recommended for removal due to poor structural condition. "

However the report adds the landscaping scheme proposes some of the young trees are relocated while there will also be additional tree-planting.

Claire Parker, representing architects Cassidy and Ashton, said: "Around 140 trees have been identified as suitable to be transplanted at the moment, and this will be supplemented by further planting."

Planning committee chairman Coun David Owen said he hoped the transplanting scheme would be able to save as much vegetation as possible especially as the council has now adopted its Green and Blue Strategy aimed at increasing tree coverage in the town.

The committee approved the application and developers are expected to be on site by the end of the year.