A COUNCIL has come under fire for its plans to cut down nine trees as part of a roundabout improvement scheme.

Campaigners say three giant poplar trees at Kidlington Roundabout form a ‘well-loved and distinctive approach’ to the village from Oxford.

The works at the roundabout are part of various projects along the A44, which together are referred to as the North Oxford corridor.

Proposals by Oxfordshire County Council to fell the mature trees have however drawn criticism from local people.

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Suzanne McIvor, secretary of the Harbord Road Area Residents’ Association, said: “The three tall poplars are extremely attractive trees.

“Along with the other trees which will be lost they undoubtedly have biodiversity value. This area is in the Green Belt. None of this is even mentioned in the consultation documents.

“Nowhere in the email from the council announcing the consultation, or on its Let’s Talk website, is the fate of these trees explained.

“This only becomes apparent if readers download a PDF of the plans and then zoom in to read the very small key where trees to be felled are marked with red dots, and around 20 more trees to be ‘mitigated’ are marked with orange dots.”

Oxford Mail: The trees at Kidlington Roundabout. Picture: Suzanne McIvorThe trees at Kidlington Roundabout. Picture: Suzanne McIvor

Linda Ward, of Kidlington Development Watch, added: “We don’t think these proposals are improvements.

“They may well just make the roundabout worse for all forms of transport.

“Whilst intended safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians are welcome, we do not believe that the use of so many traffic signals is the best way to achieve this.”

A spokesperson for the county council said consultation on the project has been extended to August 12, with the aim to encourage the use of buses, cycling and walking.

Oxford Mail: The trees at Kidlington Roundabout. Picture: Suzanne McIvorThe trees at Kidlington Roundabout. Picture: Suzanne McIvor

The spokesperson continued: “The consultation also asks specific questions relating to the traffic regulation orders required to implement the changes.  

“The project team has worked closely with the council’s arboriculture, landscaping and tree preservation officers to minimise the impact on existing trees and vegetation.

“The trees identified for removal have been classified as moderate to low-quality. No high-quality trees will be removed.

“A planting strategy has been developed which is in line with the council’s Tree Policy for Oxfordshire, and requires two trees to be planted for every tree that has to be removed from council land. 

“The replacement trees will be planted in a similar location within the scheme vicinity.

“At present, the outline planting schedule allows for 21 new trees to be planted – which exceeds the policy requirement.

“The increased number of trees will further increase biodiversity of the area.”

Responses to the consultation will be reviewed as part of a report presented to the council at a meeting in October.

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice