Tree protests end as police warn of arrest

PROTESTERS finally stood down to allow trees to be removed from Doncaster Common after police warned them they could be arrested.

Doncaster Council staff returned to the site within Doncaster Racecourse on Town Moor yesterday morning to start removing the trees which block the view of part of the track.

Protesters initially hoped to stop them again by standing inside the safety cordons set up around the felling, a tactic which led to the work being stopped on Monday.

But yesterday, police warned they could be arrested.

This was a change from their earlier line which was they would not be arrested because they were on common land.

Officers told protester John Anderson, from Bennetthorpe, he would be taken to the police station and put in a cell until the work had finished if he stood inside the barriers this time.

Mr Anderson said he was told he would be arrested for obstruction.

He said: "We may feel the battle has been lost, but we have won some concessions.

"There is a six year tree management in place and new trees will be planted to replace those removed.

"They will be chopped down over several years.

"But we still dispute the idea of spending what we understand to be around 200,000 on this at a time when old people are losing their wardens and people are losing their jobs.

"Doncaster Common is the best public park in Doncaster. We are going to lose the character and the diversity of the trees."

Mayor Peter Davies said he wanted the trees to be removed because he thought it was important that racegoers could have an unrestricted view of the action.

He said the number of letters he had received supporting the removal of the trees outweighed the objections.

He also described the racecourse as one of the borough's biggest assets which brings millions of pounds into the borough's economy.

He said the racecourse had paid for some of the costs, and the initial tree felling survey.

He added: "The cost would have been significantly lower without these half a dozen protesters causing all the trouble they have caused.

"The small numbers show they are not representative of the people of Doncaster.

"The whole thing has become a farce."

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