'Urban Eden' lobby group fights to save CMK's trees

PLANNERS blazing a trail for expansion are taking out city centre trees like a hurricane through a pine forest, according to critics.

New lobby group Urban Eden is claiming something in the order of 4,000 trees in Central Milton Keynes alone are endangered through schemes to overhaul boulevards and make them more bus friendly. Many had already gone.

Its mapping of the alleged devastation, supplied exclusively to the Citizen, makes a tally of more than 1,300 trees already axed, 750 with planning permission for felling, some 2,200 at "strong potential risk" and a further 280 in town squares at "serious risk".

"Any protestations from Milton Keynes Partnership or its members, English Partnerships, Milton Keynes Council etcetera that the 'trees are safe', effectively redefine the term 'weasel words' in our opinion," said PR company boss Theo Chalmers, who chairs Urban Eden.

The group – including town planning and other professionals –is pledged to safeguard the original master plan of the 1960s and offers itself as an umbrella organisation for all opposed to Government-imposed growth.

It aims to protect the grid, which it said must be extended.

"In a few years we may all have carbon-neutral, hydrogen-powered cars, which expire only water vapour.

"What will these Philistines tell us then, when we have no roads to use them on?" the group asks.

"It supports those who call for a tram system, along with safeguarding of Redways and quality architecture.

"Several new structures in Central Milton Keynes look like they were designed to be as cheap as possible to build in order to maximise the revenue for the land.

"The new high-density residential areas they are building or planning to build outside Central Milton Keynes, where there is nowhere to park a car, are a blot on our lovely landscape too."

The city layout had been exported world-wide by countries who had sought to "recreate our paradise", says the Urban Eden website.

"Now we are betrayed. We are enraged.

"We see dark, ignorant forces with an eye on a fast buck and with no passion, no vision and no belief trying to destroy it, stitch by stitch, tree by tree, road by road... Urban Eden will never let their plans happen."

Mr Chalmers expected the growing weight of local opposition to Milton Keynes Partnership and the Government would eventually "force them to re-consider."

Urban Eden is inviting cash donations from supporters and is referring anyone interested to its website at www.urbaneden.org.

The Citizen was awaiting comment from Milton Keynes Partnership as it went to press last night.