More, better trees promised amid online protests

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The fate of trees alongside Lochgilphead front green sparked lively online debate this week as improvement works continue in the town.

The £1.5 million front green project will involve the felling of a number of horse chestnut trees running alongside the A83 Poltalloch Street, but the news came as a shock to many Facebook users.

As the debate rumbled, one tree expert suggested that a variety of trees should be considered in replacing the 20-odd chestnuts. There was even talk of a ‘save the trees’ petition being started.

Argyll and Bute Council is overseeing the front green scheme, and a council spokesperson explained: ‘Trees are a vital part of the designs for the front green. A tree survey was undertaken in March 2019 to assess the health of the existing trees and the findings shared and discussed during public consultation events.

‘The survey identified a number of diseased and damaged trees at the end of their natural life cycle. Following advice from specialists, we have been planting new trees for a number of years to replace the ageing chestnut trees, which are not salt-tolerant and likely to struggle on an exposed site.

‘All the new species, including hornbeam, are more suitable for the ground conditions.

The council spokesperson continued: ‘All the healthy mature horse chestnuts will be retained as part of the final designs and protected throughout the works.

‘The overall number of trees will increase as part of the transformation. In addition to the avenue of trees along the A83, there will be new trees in the play area and to the rear of the public toilet building.’

Elsewhere on the front green, contractor Hawthorn Heights Ltd has begun drainage works after stripping away overlying vegetation.

The project, which started at the end of May, and is set to continue until January 2022.