A British council has been criticised after it 'butchered' healthy palm trees in order to stop people using the area for sex and drug-taking.
Plymouth City Council has come under heavy criticism following the felling of 110 mature trees in the city centre.
But the council insisted the work was necessary in order to tackle anti-social behaviour, although it has apologised to the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum for not telling it about the work.
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A council spokesperson said: “The area around the Belvedere shelter has suffered from growing anti-social behaviour, with council officers regularly having to clean up sex and drug paraphernalia.”
The spokesperson added: “As part of our regular programme of maintenance, and following feedback from the community, including local groups, we have been keen to clean-up this space on the Hoe and make it more welcoming and safe for both residents and visitors."
The council stressed new plants would be installed. The spokesperson said: “We will be replacing them with planting that has improved biodiversity benefits and provides a better home to bees and bugs.
“Works were carried out in consultation with an ecologist, who confirmed that there were no birds nesting. We apologise to the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum that we did not keep them up-to-date with the detail of these works. Community engagement will be a priority moving forward.”
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The council stressed the work was undertaken under the previous Conservative administration.
Readers sent messages to local publication PlymouthLive, with one saying: “We heard about the council butchering a number of palm trees on the Hoe.”
Another said: “Does the council not realise that a huge amount of people are traumatised by what happened and further with the sight of the huge tree pile? Yet I wake up to see yet more unnecessary felling of trees.”
The person, who called the palms “stunning”, said the removal of shrubs would merely relocate anti-social behaviour elsewhere.
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