MP hits out at South Staffordshire council over felled trees
Gavin Williamson has hit out at Tory-run South Staffordshire District Council for chopping down trees outside its main offices.
The South Staffordshire MP said it was "extremely disappointing" that the authority had felled up to 25 trees in the area around Wolverhampton Road and Histons Hill in Codsall.
He has demanded council bosses to plant twice as many trees elsewhere in the village to compensate.
The trees have been chopped down as part of the council's £8m community hub plans, which will see sections of the land used for extra car parking spaces.
The move has prompted concerns from some residents, who say the council should be protecting green spaces across the county.
Mr Williamson, who is the Government's Education Secretary, said: "It is extremely disappointing to see the sheer volume of trees removed by the council, and no guarantee as it stands of them being replaced.
"Many people take great pride in trees being so commonplace in South Staffordshire and I would like to see the district council pledge to replant twice as many trees as soon as possible elsewhere within Codsall".
Councillor Brian Edwards, the Conservative leader of South Staffordshire District Council, said plans had been laid out for new landscaping as part of the planning permission for the project.
He said the move was necessary in order to proceed with the new hub, and added: "We will do all that is required to replace the trees.
"In actual fact there is capacity to put in a lot more trees and bushes if we wish."
The community hub project will bring a GP surgery, NHS community outreach teams and police to the council’s Codsall headquarters.
The plans also include the relocation of the village library, which is already on-site, into a new building and more than 70 extra car parking spaces, as well as refurbishment of the existing facilities and a redesign of the council chamber.
A cabinet report into the scheme said: “The community hub project proposes to invest in the council’s headquarters, including a full refurbishment, new build and increased car parking.
"This will see specialist teams from across the public, health, private and voluntary sectors co-located together."