Joy for Newark campaigners as council votes to save trees

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Image caption,
Dozens of campaigners had demonstrated against the removal of the trees

A council has voted to save four mature trees that were due to be cut down to make way for a car park extension.

Four sycamores were set to be felled at the Balderton Gate car park, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, due to a legally-binding agreement between the authority and the landowner.

After protests, the landowner offered the district council a new deal to preserve the trees.

On Wednesday, councillors voted in favour of accepting the fresh terms.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported the original deal committed Newark and Sherwood District Council to building a car park extension at the site and paying Datch Properties Ltd £30,000 per year in rent for 25 years, after an initial two-year, rent-free period.

Alternatively the authority was offered the chance to buy back the land for £600,000 - a price deemed too high by the council.

However, the firm has now agreed to sell the land for £450,000.

Image caption,
More than 6,000 people signed a petition calling for the trees to be saved

Before the decision was rubber-stamped at a full council meeting, campaigners gathered outside to hand over a 6,000-signature petition calling for the trees to be saved.

Emma Oldham said: "As a community group we've spent so much time, blood sweat and tears, sleepless nights over these trees.

"Some of us had nightmares that we woke up and the trees were chopped down.

"It's good to see all this community action has actually paved the way for a sustainable future."

Deputy leader Keith Girling said: "I believe in democracy. I believe in the right to protest peacefully.

"[Campaigners] have demonstrated that they feel that strongly about it and we've responded to that."

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