University of Nottingham sports centre oak tree row cost '£1m'

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image copyrightUniversity of Nottingham
image captionDavid Ross, University of Nottingham graduate and founder of Carphone Warehouse, helped pay for the centre

Up to £1m was spent redesigning a university's new sports facility after a council row over two 150-year-old oak trees, it has emerged.

Original plans for the University of Nottingham's £40m project were turned down by the city council because it meant felling the trees.

The sports hall, one of the biggest in the UK, has now opened after revised proposals were eventually approved.

The council had said the "veteran" trees were too valuable to lose.

image copyrightUniversity of Nottingham
image captionThe new squash courts are one of only four fully glass-backed courts in the UK

The planning stages in 2015 led to the clash between the council and university over the fate of the oaks.

The authority was accused of "double standards", because it had removed about 40 trees to make way for the new tram line nearby.

image copyrightUniversity of Nottingham
image captionThe 20 badminton court sports hall is one of the biggest in the UK, according to the university

But, with the oak trees it argued they were too important to the eco-systems on campus.

Dan Tilley, director of sport at the University of Nottingham, said: "The planning committee felt the trees should be preserved... we had some plans in place and offset the fact we were going to cut down the trees.

"We had to redesign the building at significant expense to make sure we kept them. It was probably about £1m in the end."

The council has not commented on the figure.

image copyrightUniversity of Nottingham
image captionThe new centre has a climbing wall for members of the public to use

The newly opened sports centre is three times the size of the facility it replaced and has new badminton and squash courts, as well as "state-of-the-art" gym facilities and a martial arts dojo.

The centre, named the David Ross Sports Village, is also open to members of the public.

image captionThe oaks at the University of Nottingham are believed to be at least 150 years old

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