As controversy mounts over the removal of more than 25 trees in Eastbourne town centre, the council has defended the decision and said it is replacing them with new ones.
Both Eastbourne council and East Sussex County Council approved the removal of 28 trees within the Town Centre Improvement Scheme area and for 35 new ones to be planted.
Trees were removed in Gildredge Road, Cornfield Road and Terminus Road to make way for the multi-million scheme to improve the pedestrianised environment.
Eastbourne council’s Jon Dow said the 28 trees were lost as they were showing signs of dying back and coming to end of their natural life.
He also said that with all the work being completed to the exterior of the new Beacon shopping complex, “it just made sense to replace with new trees”.
He said Eastbourne council had already planted some 3,000 in recent years and had also working with the campaign group Edible Eastbourne on planting new fruit trees.
Campaigners had argued the loss of the trees was changing the face of the town centre and helped with the oxygen cycle.
At the time the council said part of the Eastbourne Town Centre Improvement Scheme incorporates a landscaping scheme which will see more than half a dozen planted areas incorporated into the project.
A spokesperson said unfortunately a number of trees needed to be removed and replaced because the work involved substantial excavations near the trees that would cause root damage leaving them unstable and dangerous to pedestrians.
In Cornfield Road, 16 acer trees, that were showing signs of dieback and coming to the end of their natural life, were removed but new replacement trees will “offer greater resilience to disease and provide a broader range of colour and flowers”.
To see the full interview with Eastbourne council’s Jon Dow, visit the Herald website at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk