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Concern as trees planted by religious figure felled onschool site
TREES that were planted by Littlemore’s historical religious figure John Henry Newman have been felled during work to clear the site of an old school, say residents.
Those living by the site in David Nicholls Close, Littlemore, say they are concerned about the resulting loss in wildlife at the old Lawn Upton School grounds.
Workmen began felling the trees on the disused land last week after developer Vanderbilt Homes Ltd won planning permission for a residential development in September.
A total of 22 homes, made up of five one-bedroom flats, nine two-bedroom flats and eight three-bedroom flats, is planned for the site in Sandford Road alongside 29 car parking spaces, cycle parking and landscaping.
Resident Russell Edwards said: “The wildlife has been decimated.
“The owl we usually hear has not been heard of since they pulled the trees down.
“They have left two Beech trees and one Sycamore tree, the rest have gone.
“It has certainly made it look quite bare and open.”
Neighbour John Leader said: “The wildlife has gone now because there is nowhere for them to live.”
A total of 16 trees out of the 56 identified on the site are under tree preservation orders, which prevents them from being removed.
Littlemore is known for its connections with Cardinal Newman, who was an important figure in 19th Century England and is known for his teachings and conversion to Catholicism in 1845.
David Henwood, planning committee chairman for Littlemore Parish Council, said: “Littlemore Parish Council opposed the current amended plans, because we thought they didn’t relate well with the main building or with the surrounding houses and John Henry Newman School.
“The current spinney of trees that have been largely removed were planted by John Henry Newman 150 years ago and form one of the last living links with him.
“They had become an important environment for owls, foxes, pheasants and numerous other wildlife, it’s a real shame the developer didn’t think that the woodland isn’t an important part of our heritage.”
Pat Good, chairman of the Littlemore History Society and resident of David Nicholls Close, said: “They have decimated the tree population. They say they have left the ones that have conservation orders on.
“My major concern is for the parking. We are concerned because of the amount of traffic that will go up and down and because they will park here. The road is not wide enough.”
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