War memorial trees in Sheffield 'would cost £500,000 to save'

An Armistice Day commemoration on Western Road, Crookes, where 23 war memorial trees are earmarked for replacement
An Armistice Day commemoration on Western Road, Crookes, where 23 war memorial trees are earmarked for replacement
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More than 40 threatened war memorial trees planted across Sheffield in tribute to fallen soldiers would cost £500,000 to save, it is claimed.

Sheffield Council says that is the estimated price to preserve trees in Western Road, Crookes, and four other locations which were planted following the First World War.

A total of 41 trees across the five streets are earmarked for the chop as the council says they are dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, damaging or could obstruct pedestrians or drivers.

Campaigners, who staged a special memorial event on Western Road on Armistice Day last month, are fighting to prevent those trees being felled and replaced as part of the council's £2 billion Streets Ahead contract with Amey.

The council says the contractor has looked at possible engineering options to save those trees and found the cost on Western Road alone would exceed £310,000 and for many of the trees involved would only be a temporary solution.

Councillors are due to determine the fate of those 41 trees, 23 of which are on Western Road, at a cabinet meeting next Tuesday.

A report setting out the costs makes no recommendation as to whether all or any of those trees should be saved, but it does state that if councillors decide to preserve them the money would have to be taken from other 'pressing' priorities like social care.

The report also details plans to plant an extra 300 memorial trees in the city's parks before next November, which will mark 100 years since the First World War ended.

It states that half the war memorial trees originally planted have already been lost and not replaced, and it says the 41 trees at risk of replacement represent only around a third of those surviving.

"For first time in 100 years, and in readiness for the 2018 centenary, we will create a new memorial consisting of around 300 trees in our city's parks and will retain this new memorial in perpetuity," the report states.

"We will also commit to replant all memorial trees that need replacement and to do this in perpetuity, alongside consultation with residents on options to replant lost memorials trees that were never replaced."

The remaining 18 war memorial trees earmarked for replacement are on Tay Street, Oxford Street, Springvale Road and Binfield Road. Another two on Heathfield Road are also due to be replaced as the council says they are in a poor condition.