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Neighbours in Kings Avenue, Woodford Green meeting with Iain Duncan Smith to try and halt removal of dozens of trees from Central line embankment
DOZENS of mature trees which screen suburban gardens from the Central line are facing the chop.
Neighbours on a stretch of Kings Avenue, Woodford Green were sent a letter last Friday telling them that Transport for London (TfL) would start removing the trees on December 10.
The announcement has angered many homeowners who say they should have been consulted before any decision to begin work was taken.
In the letter TfL says a 250 metre section of embankment which runs parallel to gardens on Kings Avenue is in an unstable condition and needs to be stabilised as a matter of priority.
It continues: “It is necessary for us to remove much of the vegetation, including many of the trees, on the embankment slopes.”
Work to remove the trees is due to be completed on Christmas Eve with a piled wall being put in their place as part of stabilisation work which will begin next year.
Rab Hashem, 38, has organised a meeting with his MP Iain Duncan Smith in an effort to delay the work.
He said: “There has been no consultation about this and that is wrong.
“It seems like they are trying to get this past us with as little notice as possible.
“We have always had the appearance of woodland at the bottom of our gardens. It is beautiful and a real haven for wildlife.
“It forms a vital barrier which screens the noise, the view of the tracks and prevents the dust getting into gardens.
“If TfL eradicate the trees I firmly believe that the value of my house will drop by between £20-£40,000.”
Neighbour Lauren O’Shea, 32, added: “Will they replant any of these trees?
“And why can’t they give us a proper explanation of why this work needs to be done?
“I’m dreading it, because they did some work earlier this year.
“The noise was awful and it actually shook my house.”
Work has already been carried out onthe opposite side of the tracks.
Kings Avenue resident James Smith said he had been to look at the work and it offered a taste of things to come.
"It looks very bare over there," he said. "We have enjoyed the view and the wildlife for a great number of years and this has come as very traumatic news.
"If this work really needs to be done for safety reasons then I suppose we have to accept it. But I have asked TfL to give us a proper explanation."
Not everyone on the road is angry about the imminent arrival of TfL's tree surgeons.
Alf Currey, 55, said: “If they don’t do the work then the embankment might collapse.
“When I moved in 23 years ago I planted conifer trees in my garden and I will still have those even if they do chop down the rest of these trees.”
A meeting between the residents and Iain Duncan Smith is due to take place this Friday.
In a letter to Mr Duncan Smith, Mark Hart of TfL, says: "If we do not repair the embankments then the nearby train tracks could move, causing delays to services and requiring disruptive and costly repairs."
And he adds: "Unfortunately we cannot undertake these works without felling almost all of the trees along these stretches of the embankment."
"When the works are finished we will recover the embankment slope with topsoil containing a wildflower/grass seed mix as London Underground's standards prevent planting of any trees within 3 metres of the new structures."
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