Fringe Box



Mature 18m Tree To Be Cut Down For Rubbish Bin Store In Council Plans

Published on: 22 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 22 Jul, 2020

By Hugh Coakley

People are objecting to proposals to fell two trees, including a mature 18m Italian alder and a field maple, in Guildford Borough Council’s plans to improve a rubbish bin store at the rear of the Grade II listed Rodboro Buildings, off Bridge Street.

18m high Italian alder tree is to be cut down in plans by Guildford Borough Council.

An independent report commissioned by the council provides support for the objectors’ views by recommending that “concerted efforts” should be made to retain the trees.

The proposals, outlined in a planning application submitted to the council’s own planning department, aims to improve the area at the back of the Rodboro Buildings with a loading bay and a fenced-in rubbish bin store.

A crime prevention report stated that fear of crime had led to the closure of the ACM college’s entrance in Friary Passage.

A crime prevention report in October 2019 stated that there had been 167 crimes reported connected with the two buildings in a year. The report stated the “bin storage area is currently badly managed” and that “secure bin compounds with roofs” would prevent the debris being used as “weapons or means to set fires.”

Emily Inges said that people are separated from nature.  “We have evolved living in forested areas and we are now turning our back on it.”

But the objectors are not convinced that improving safety and accessibility to the bins mean that the trees have to go.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS met Emily Inges and conservation volunteer Jonathan Mitchell under the welcome shade of the tall and elegant alder tree.

Both were passionate about saving the tree. Emily said: “It doesn’t require much creativity to find a solution to tidy up the area, reduce anti social behaviour and save the tree. The decision has been made on a cost or convenience basis.”

Jonathan Mitchell said that he could “see no reason to remove the lovely tree”.

Jonathan was in agreement and said: “I’m not against the plan as a whole, the area needs to be made safer. But given the space available, I see no reason to remove this lovely tree. Without the tree, the area would look brutal.”

But the council was adamant that the tree had to go and it has the support of the police.

Cllr Caroline Reeves.

The leader of the council and councillor for the area, Caroline Reeves, (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas), said: “We have worked hard to try to find an alternative solution so that the bin store area can be improved and made more accessible for the users, and can be safely accessed without damaging other properties and vehicles.

“The tree is used as a urinal. The police and the Street Angels Teams are aware that drug dealing and antisocial behaviour happens here because the tree makes it secluded. While we don’t like taking out trees, the plans provide the opportunity to plant a new tree in a location that is much more visible to the public.”

Cllr Jan Harwood.

Cllr Jan Harwood, lead councillor for climate change, (Lib Dem, Merrow), added: “We are also concerned that the field maple may provide issues in the future with buildings surrounding it due to the shape and size of its canopy.”

But one objector, Dr Carol Wilson, wrote in her objection letter: “Felling a perfectly good tree for a bin store is not acceptable. Felling a second tree to be able to replace the first is madness.”

Jonathan Mitchell said: “We hope that the council will reconsider but people have until Friday, July 31 to let the council know that the trees must be saved.”

People can comment on the application by clicking on the link here or by emailing

The 18m alder tree showed signs of supporting wildlife in the town centre with a bird’s nest visible in the branches. Without the tree, the area would be “brutal”, said Jonathan Mitchell, who objects to the plan.

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Responses to Mature 18m Tree To Be Cut Down For Rubbish Bin Store In Council Plans

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 9:09 am

    After felling 250 semi-mature trees in the 2000s to install a boundary fence at Riverside and cutting down a millennium ring of oaks to attract nesting skylarks, I’m surprised they even put it in the public domain before they acted.

    Mature trees have been lost on the Wey Navigation and no one has complained. Perhaps people should take more notice of all the potential tree loss in our borough.

  2. David Middleton Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Rather than felling the tree, how about some pruning of the lower branches to allow more light beneath it so that any ne’er do wells are more visible, along with some firm policing by the police and security guards in the area.

    It strikes me that the problems are being caused by humans, not the tree.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 11:35 am

    GBC is led by environmental vandals. And these are the folks who have declared a climate emergency.

    This is borne out by their defence of the indefensible Local Plan.

    Trees bring pleasure to residents. Bins do not.

  4. Jacqueline Potts Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    How about some more CCTV cameras to deter anti-social behaviour?

  5. Harry Eve Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Another solution would be to install an uncomfortable surface in the problem area. These are used quite widely to discourage pedestrians away from areas where they are not wanted; for example, large embedded pebbles.

  6. Daniel Andrew Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I am in agreement with David Middleton, surely alternative arrangements can be found to improve lighting.

    Why must this tree be felled because of humans’ inability to behave responsibly?

  7. Susie Campbell Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Plant new trees in addition to mature trees – not instead! New trees are no replacement for mature, well established trees. I don’t believe there isn’t an alternative solution, there are several in these comments alone.

  8. Vaughan Moseley Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Are people going to stop urinating because there’s no longer a tree or just go against something else? Something else of course. Some flawed thinking overall I think.

  9. Sue Fox Reply

    July 23, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    I would urge all who have commented to click on the link to register an objection it only takes five minutes or so.

  10. M Leahy Reply

    July 23, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    If the tree has to go, the council should have to plant 10 trees as replacement.

  11. Anthony Fort Reply

    July 29, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I echo Sue Fox’s comment above: Please take a moment to follow the link in the article and register an official objection. Alternatively, write to

    Registering an official objection only takes a few minutes and can make a difference.

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