Anger as Battle cordylines are given the chop

Roundabout, Battle. 19/5/11
Roundabout, Battle. 19/5/11

ANGRY residents claim Battle has lost one of its most distinctive and quirky landmarks.

Complaints have flooded in to the Observer and Battle Town Council after council contractors removed the cordyline trees from the roundabout by the fire station at the end of the High Street last week.

The work, which took a number of residents by surprise, is said to have upset many, including a number of children who attend the nearby Battle and Langton School.

One father told the Observer: “A lot of people are upset about it and a lot of children have commented about it.

“Our children say the roundabout is not pretty anymore.

“It seems it was done on the sly and no one was really told this was going to happen.”

Battle Town councillor Paula Fisher is an outspoken supporter of the cordylines, which were planted during the early 1990s while she was employed as the town clerk.

Cllr Fisher said: “I have received a number of calls from unhappy people and, worse, very unhappy children at Battle and Langton School, who were very upset at the removal of the cordyline trees from the roundabout.

“Members (of the council) opposed the request by Beautiful Battle time and time again to remove the cordylines, but this time the council voted strongly in favour of taking them down.

“I would like to see a copy of the terms of reference between Beautiful Battle and the town council.

“It would be a good idea to have a review of the planned planting for the town for future reference.”

Cllr Fisher has rescued the tops of the trees and planted them in her own garden.

She says that if the trees grow, she intends to donate them to Battle and Langton School.

The decision to remove the trees was made following a proposal put forward by the Battle In Bloom group, which includes members of the town council and Beautiful Battle.

Council chairman Richard Bye said: “A recommendation had been made by Battle in Bloom that the cordylines be removed from the roundabout.

“This was discussed at the estates committee in October with an agreement to recommend this proposal to full council in November.

“Whilst the council is reluctant to remove any trees, it was noted the spreading roots of the cordylines was absorbing most of the nutrients from the soil making it difficult to maintain any further planting and there was also potential damage to the services that run just beneath the surface.

“After much discussion the council voted 10 in favour, four against and one abstention to remove the cordylines.

“For this coming year poppies and red geraniums will be planted to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1.

“A more permanent scheme for the roundabout will be discussed in due course.”