A deep-rooted and bitter row has erupted between residents of a Wolverton street and their ward councillor – over a couple of trees.
Some residents of Oxford Street are furious about plans to cut down the trees following complaints from other home owners that they are in danger of damaging their properties, with Councillor Peter Marland stuck in the middle.
Mr Marland, leader of the Labour group in Milton Keynes, reported the situation to the council after complaints from some residents concerned that the trees, dating back to the 1970s, were damaging their properties.
The council’s ‘tree officer’ visited Oxford Street and has advised that the trees need to be cut down, said Mr Marland.
That decision has been met with anger by members of the “Save the Oxford Street Trees’ group who blame Mr Marland for taking the matter up with the council.
The group accuses him of manipulating the results of a survey he conducted to gauge local feeling about the trees and to ask the question of what should be planted in their place.
His survey suggested the majority of the 51 households in the street understood the complaints of the minority of residents and were satisfied the trees should be cut down if that was the advice of the professional.
However, members of the group have refused to let the trees go without a fight and conducted their own survey which they say shows overwhelming support for the trees.
Mr Marland has secured £1,000 worth of funding from the council to pay for flowers to be planted in place of the trees, but that isn’t enough for the group who accuse him of misrepresenting the views of residents.
The group confronted Mr Marland and handed him two petitions from Oxford Street and the wider area at his latest surgery on Saturday morning at Wolverton Library, where tempers threatened to boil over.
“I undertook a survey to ensure residents could make comments, with which most seem perfectly happy, but I am sorry if some do not view it in that way,” said Mr Marland.
“I am quite sure that all residents will have further opportunity to comment on the future along with everyone else.
“I’d like to thank all residents who responded to the survey and those who brought me the petition.”
A spokesman for the council said no decision regarding the future of the trees had yet been made, and would not be until after all local residents had been consulted.