Stevenage charity angry over felling of commemorative tree

A leader of the Stevenage branch of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service has hit out at a council for felling a tree the charity had paid for to mark its 60th anniversary.

A TEAM leader of the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) says she is horrified after discovering that a Japanese cherry tree paid for by the organisation and planted to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 1998 has been cut down by a council without warning.

Jill Walker, of Leaves Spring in Stevenage, is the WRVS’ team leader of emergency services in the town.

She said: “During a walk in the Town Centre Gardens I went to see the tree, and I was horrified to see it had been cut down. The plaque is still there, but no tree. We paid for it and planted it, and no one had the manners to inform us.”

Stevenage Borough Council has felled a number of trees in the Town Centre Gardens as part of a project to regenerate the green open space, which was developed in the 1960s.

The project includes planting bulbs, shrubs and hedgerows, improving connections with surrounding areas, and creating an enlarged play area and a grassed terrace.

It is set to be completed later this year.

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A spokesman for Stevenage Borough Council said: “We have apologised to the WVRS for not informing them in advance about the felling of the tree.

“Once the refurbishment of Town Centre Gardens is complete, we will plant a new tree, together with a new plaque, and will hold a rededication ceremony.”