SAD’s tree plan

EXMOUTH S Avenues are set to return to their leafy former glory thanks to a community project to replant 150 missing trees.

EXMOUTH'S Avenues are set to return to their leafy former glory thanks to a community project to replant 150 missing trees.

Trees once lined every street in the Avenues but, over the years, gaps have gradually appeared due to property developments, vandalism and disease.

But members of the town council's finance committee this week backed a �1,500 grant application by residents' group Save Avenues from Despoliation (SAD) for a wholesale replant.

The ambitious scheme, backed by town councillors, including Ken Harper and deputy mayor Sandy Sutton, would see the funding matched by Devon County Council.

Residents have been consulted on what types of trees they would like and 10 species have been chosen.

Cllr Harper said: "Over the years at least 150 trees have been damaged, lost, chopped down or died.

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"These trees have not been replaced. Once the Avenues was tree lined now we have trees missing in lots of different places.

"The residents are working to restore the character of the Avenues.

"We have lots of support; we did a survey and had 80 replies.

"About 55 residents said they would look after the trees, while another 35 said they would help with the cost."

The cost of each tree could be anything up to �50 and Cllr Steve Wragg applauded the scheme: "Residents are doing something to improve their environment."

Cllr Eileen Wragg added: "There are lots of other areas that would also benefit."

The councillors then debated whether the money should be taken out of the council's grants fund or the �20,000 projects fund.

Cllr Mark Williamson said: "They are trying to improve the street scene. This is what the community projects fund is meant for."

Town clerk John Wokersien said the decision needed to be made because SAD was working against the clock: "It's coming up to the planting season soon."

They agreed the project should be paid for out of the under spend from last year's project fund.

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