Concerns sparked by delays to street trees plan in Seaford

Concerns have been raised tree planting along Seaford streets could be stopped due to maintenance costs and health and safety concerns.

Seaford Tree Wardens said they had been told that no further planting could take place until the town council’s Community Services Committee considered the matter on March 21.

Seaford tree wardens, council refused to allow them to plant trees

Seaford tree wardens, council refused to allow them to plant trees

But Seaford Town Council leader Ian White said a halt had been called because the tree wardens had failed to put the tree scheme before the council for approval and were not covered by the town council for insurance liability.

Cllr White added a letter issued to residents by Seaford Tree Wardens was incorrect.

He said council officers of had expressed concerns about long term financial implications from maintenance, safety checks and possible future damage to pavements, roads or other property.

Cllr White said: “The halt was necessary due to the Seaford Tree Wardens Group not seeking approval before planning to undertake planting.”

In a letter to residents chair of Seaford Tree Wardens Keith Blackburn said: “We understand that this is due to some concerns about the long term maintenance of the trees.

“If the councillors vote to support street tree planting, it means we can go ahead with planting in your street in the autumn.

“If the vote goes against planting, then there will be no further street tree planting in Seaford for the foreseeable future.”

Cllr White explained: “Seaford Tree Wardens were established by Seaford Town Council in July 2007 when six individuals volunteered to become involved in planting schemes, undertaking surveys, school tree projects and advising on planning issues that affect protected trees.

“As such the volunteers are responsible to the town council and are covered for insurance liability by the council.

“Between 2007 and 2011 the Tree Wardens had their schemes approved by the council which was grateful of the actions of the volunteers to improve the environment of the town.

“Unfortunately the current scheme for street tree planting was not submitted to the council for approval by the Tree Wardens and therefore cannot be undertaken until such approval is sought.

“When the town clerk became aware of proposed imminent planting of street trees, she took steps to protect both the council and the volunteers and the group by suspending the plans until approval can be sought via the Community Services Committee. The earliest date to do this is Thursday 21 March 2012, until then planting cannot take place.”