Statement from John Robinson, Chief Executive of Newark and Sherwood District Council

Posted on: Monday, November 1, 2021

The proposed removal of four trees at London Road to extend the car park has created a lot of local interest. Some people are very much against the loss of trees and have challenged the Council to justify why it is necessary. Understandably, it’s been suggested that providing more car parking and removing trees undermines the Council’s commitment to the environment.

The situation the Council finds itself in is a difficult one.  A number of years ago, the Council decided to extend the London Road car park for two main reasons - to generate additional income for local services and to provide more spaces at the town’s most busy car park. Extending the car park requires the removal of four trees and at the time, it was considered acceptable to do so. To progress the scheme, the Council entered into a legally binding lease agreement with the landowner, which compels the Council to build the car park.

Time has moved on, there is greater awareness of, and commitment to, the environment but the Council still has a legally binding contract to honour. It could get out of this and has tried to do so, but would cost in the region of £600,000.

Contrary to some of the criticism and accusations being made, this is not simply a question of whether the Council cares for, or is committed to the environment. It’s also about the Council’s duty to the tax payer and its responsibility to the whole of Newark and Sherwood.

Ultimately, the Council has decided go ahead with the scheme – not because it wants to but because it made a judgement that £600,000 was too high a price to save four trees. This money would otherwise be spent on local services and indeed on things that protect and preserve the environment. So this wasn’t an easy choice for local councillors, it was not one that they took lightly and they gave it very serious consideration.

Before the trees works take place, an updated ecology assessment will be carried out.

To find out what we are doing to meet our target of being carbon neutral by 2035, please visit our webpage.