Residents are furious after trees that were once protected were cut down as part of the West Way redevelopment.

Locals contacted the Oxford Mail in shock after Mace, lead developer on the project, had trees cut down which previously had Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) put in place to protect them.

Vale of White Horse District Council's website still shows the TPOs granted for the trees between the B4044 and Westminster Way – but the final ones were felled last week.

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Botley resident Jim Hyndman said: “My degree is in botany, and I have studied trees – these trees pre-date the construction of Elm’s Court in 1965, and were probably planted when Elm’s parade was built in the 1920s.

"There were 16 trees individually identified under this preservation order. All 16 have now been felled.”

Oxford Mail:

During Mace’s felling of all the trees lining the West Way development, Mr Hyndman said: “It is upsetting to see mature trees felled in an urban centre, where there are precious few trees anyway.

“If the developer was at all sympathetic to the community, they could have retained the trees, as they are at the very periphery of the new development and are not in the way of proposed buildings.”

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Botley resident Eoin Malins said the tree preservation officer for the Vale of White Horse, Tim Stringer, previously emailed him.

The email from Mr Stringer stated: “The fact that the trees are the subject of a TPO was considered when the planning committee made its decision.

"The TPO legislation is subservient to that which controls planning permission and, once planning permission has been granted there is no requirement for a separate application to be made under the TPO legislation.”

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Vale of White Horse District council was contacted and asked if the trees were cut down despite being protected.

The council said: “A Tree Preservation Order was served in 2014 but was never confirmed, so had the effect of being a temporary order at the time.

"The subsequent grant of planning permission in 2016 supersedes any TPO on the land in any event and the trees being removed were agreed as part of the wider redevelopment project under the planning permission.”