CHERRY trees which have lined a city street for decades are being chopped down by the city council – because the blossom is “making a mess”, residents say.
Irate residents in Edinburgh’s Gardner’s Crescent claimed tree surgeons were brought in by city bosses because the fallen foliage clogs street sweepers and makes roads untidy.
The community rallied together in protest over a year ago when plans to chop the trees were first mentioned.
It is understood that lime trees are going to be replanted in absence of the cherry blossoms because they are less prone to shedding leaves.
But officials insisted the work had nothing to do with “blossom fall” but was part of a restoration project to return Gardner’s Crescent to its 19th Century glory.
Gail Bryden, an aromatherapist who has lived in Gardner’s Crescent for more than a decade, said she and other neighbours had written to the council in the past objecting to the plans.
She said: “It is part of a big regeneration of the crescent, which will be lovely, but destroying these trees is a terrible shame.
“When the blossom comes out it is beautiful but that’s why we think they are cutting them down – because it creates too much mess when it falls.
“We’ve been told they are replacing them with lime trees which might not shed petals but are not particularly pretty.”
Caroline Evans, a project manager who has lived in the crescent for ten years, said: “It came as a complete shock. I didn’t get any notification.
“I’m going to complain to the council, but it will probably be too late. Short of lying down in front of the bulldozers I don’t know what I can do.”
Gardner’s Crescent dates from 1822 and is part of Edinburgh’s West End Conservation Area.
It is currently undergoing a two-year £250,000 restoration project funded by the council, Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Scottish Power and other corporate organisations.
Derek Ainsley, chairman of the Friends of Gardner’s Crescent, said: “We are delighted that through the efforts of our funding partners we are now entering the final stage of the restoration of the garden.
“The new layout is designed not only to reflect the original planting but to put in place a leisure space which will benefit both residents of the Crescent and pedestrians passing through.
“We are excited at the progress and look forward to the completion of the new garden”
An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: “The blossom fall is not something the council recognises as a reason for chopping down the trees.
“We’ve been working closely with the Friends of Gardner’s Crescent on the landscaping works that aim to transform the area.
“The works were given planning approval in March 2011 and earlier this year two hundred residents were informed by letter that work would soon be starting.”