Published: April 22, 2009
Anger over 'chainsaw massacre' of prominent trees in Highbridge

Residents in Highbridge have been left fuming this week after chainsaw-weilding council workers "butchered" several prominent trees besides the town's clock.

Work to trim back foliage in Jubilee Gardens, besides Highbridge's town clock, was carried out by Sedgemoor's Clean Surroundings Team in order to allow CCTV cameras to get a better view of the area. However, local residents say there were shocked to see the aftermath of the work.

Mike Murphy, Chairman of Highbridge's Chamber of Trade, told "A lovely old 30ft conifer that is directly behind the town clock has been butchered."

"We knew several trees besides the fence were going to be cut back a little to help with CCTV coverage, but no-one expected this."

"The main conifer was bushy and green and provided a nice backdrop to the roundabout. Now, though, all that is left are several bare limbs which look terrible. It really has been a 'chainsaw massacre'."

He added that several Christmas lights which had been strung in the branches of the tree for storage have also damaged by the workmen.

"Several of the lights are broken and we won't be able to string them up here next Christmas as normal."

Sedgemoor District Council spokeswoman Claire Faun told the work had been pre-planned and agreed with local organisations.

She said: "We consulted with Burnham and Highbridge Town Council and the Highbridge in Bloom group."

"The trees in question are Leylandii confers which are very dense, thus obstructing the view of CCTV cameras. We will be replacing them during the autumn planting season with trees that will not be so dense and allow the cameras to do their job."

"With regard to the Christmas lights, we were unaware that they were permanently in the trees. Due to the burst of foliage in the last week, the workmen did not notice them initially and some were damaged before they realised they were there."

"Some were rather old and some perishing had taken place. We have offered to repair any that were damaged."

Mr Murphy standing besides the stumps of several trees that were felled at the spot in Highbridge on Monday

Sedgemoor District Council staff at work in the Highbridge trees this week

The 'butchered' tree besides the roundabout in Highbridge


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