The Plymouth politician who ordered 110 trees felled in the middle of the night lives on one of the city’s most luxurious tree-lined streets.
The council had halted the plans due to objections from residents to a £12.7m redevelopment scheme, but on Tuesday Tory leader Richard Bingley signed an executive order to cut down the trees.
Hours later, contractors moved in and put up fencing around the area while security and police with dogs patrolled outside.
Locals chanted and protested, but the action only stopped at 1 a.m. when a group obtained a court order. However, by that time, 110 established trees had been felled on Armada Way.
MailOnline can now reveal that Councilor Bingley owns a five-bed townhouse on a quiet, tree-lined street half a mile from where the trees were felled.
Plymouth Councilor Richard Bingley ordered 110 trees felled in the middle of the night.
Some 110 trees were felled in the middle of the night in Plymouth, sparking the fury of conservationists.
Despite being close to the city center and train station, the imposing two-fronted terraced house, bought last year for £450,000, also has a park just down the road.
There was no response at the house today, but Danny Laine, 26, who also lives on the street, said: “I think it’s shocking what happened on Armada Way.” Part of Plymouth’s unique character is its connection to nature.
“I haven’t lived here very long but I love it, it’s beautiful around here and we are very nature focused in this house.
‘If someone told us they want to cut down all the trees on the street or pave the park, we would fight against it and I’m sure he would too.
“It seems counterintuitive that while so many cities are struggling to add more green, Plymouth is taking it away.
‘I don’t understand how anyone wins in this situation.’
Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “The houses are very big and we are close to the city center and the university, so some have been converted into offices or apartments, but the ones with the original design are very sought after as family homes.
‘It’s a lovely community to live in and nestled between a park and an elementary school means it’s perfect for families. You would not really know that you are in the center of a big city.
The decision to cut down the trees has been criticized by local politicians. The Green Party said councilors did not have time to review the executive decision ordered by Bingley.
The party has called for “an independent investigation into the decision-making behind the felling of the trees.”
Green Party group leader Ian Poyser said: “This kind of green vandalism must not be repeated.”
The decision to cut down the trees has been heavily criticized by local politicians.
The Green Party said councilors did not have time to examine the executive decision ordered by Bingley.
Locals have criticized the council’s decision to cut down 110 mature trees in Plymouth city centre.
MP Luke Pollard said: “We are in a climate emergency and your actions are nothing short of environmental vandalism.”
Councilor Nick Kelly, a former Conservative who is now leader of the Independent Alliance Group, said he had rejected early plans for the redevelopment when he was council leader. He said: ‘What’s the point of having a £12.7 million scheme against so many people?’
A council poll showed that 68% of all respondents (1,537 people) did not support the £12.7m Armada Way upgrade plan. The council said that if it removed responses from people who opposed it and did not give a reason, “then the scheme has significant support.”
A local Plymouth resident passes by the logging site, which has drawn fierce criticism.
Destroyed: Over 100 mature trees felled overnight in Plymouth
More than 100 trees were cut down in the middle of the night in Plymouth, sparking anger from the community.
Retired nurse Shirley Cooper, who has lived in Plymouth since 1976, said: “They’ve cut down all these trees despite residents telling them loud and clear ‘we don’t want this’.”
The council simply does not listen to us. They say they will replace the trees, but they cannot be replaced as equals.
‘They’re telling us all to register and vote, how well will that do for them now?’
Plymouth resident Gary Reynolds, 65, said: ‘It’s been vandalized. In fact, I feel quite emotional about it.
Trees were cut down in Plymouth city center on Tuesday night (pictured)
Bark cuts pictured after 110 mature trees were felled in Plymouth city center
“It’s wrong that they can go in and do this and the mess they’ve left behind is unbelievable.
‘I remember enjoying sitting under these trees when I was young. I have come to the city with my grandchildren today and I feel very sad because they are not going to enjoy that experience”.
Plymouth City Council said it was forced to fell the trees because “there is a risk that Transformative Cities Fund funds will be lost if the project is not implemented quickly.”
A council spokesperson said: ‘For reasons of public safety and the impact on the city center and given the size of the tree machinery coming to Armada Way, we schedule work to be done at night with the least amount of people possible.
“Our goal was to minimize the disruption caused to the public and businesses by cordoning off parts of Armada Way. Unfortunately, the court order meant that we had to stop working.
“Following a program compromise, the final design was modified to include 169 new semi-mature trees to plant, a revised tree planting schedule, and a commitment to investigate broader tree planting in the downtown area. We are awaiting the plaintiff’s applications as directed by the court.