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Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Friday, December 7, 2012
Residents won a concession from London Underground to delay the felling of trees behind their Woodford Green homes this morning following a public meeting.
The transport body wants to cut down trees on a 250 metre stretch which borders the Central Line and which backs onto homes in Kings Avenue.
But after facing a barrage of criticisms from angry residents, LU’s community relations manager Mark Hart agreed to hold off any removal of trees until an inspection is done with Redbridge Council.
Transport bosses say the embankment on that section of the Underground line needs to be stabilised to ensure safety and prevent train delays.
Engineering works can only go ahead once vegetation and dozens of mature trees are removed on the LU-owned land, residents have been told.
Cllr Jim O’Shea who attended the meeting at a resident’s home said: “We can see what trees could be saved and at least we’ll know what has to be done.”
Letters were only sent out to residents on Friday of last week to inform them the clearing work would begin on Monday.
Engineering works will then begin in January to build a piled wall at the top of the embankment and install a drain at the bottom.
Material will be added to the slope to further strengthen it, Mr Hart told residents in the letter.
But they questioned why they hadn’t been given more notice, especially once they learnt two weekend closures of the line scheduled for February to facilitate works were booked in six months ago.
Mr Hart, who said he learnt of the works only shortly before residents, said: “If we were to come early and say we have assessed this and we’d like to work on it but we don’t know when, it’s going to raise more questions and fears that we can’t at that time answer.”
Rab Hashem, of Kings Avenue, said: “With all the vegetation cut down, it will reduce enjoyment of our properties, increase noise pollution and ultimately affect the outlook from our houses and gardens.”
Fellow resident Colin Leverett said: “Everyone will say when you bought this house the railway was at the end. But we always knew the foliage covered what we saw especially in the summer.”