The Lancashire Evening Post, Thursday, 3rd September 2009
Healthy trees face axe in park By Jenny Simpson and Melanie Wallwork
Dozens of healthy trees have been earmarked for felling as part of plans to restore an historic Preston park to its Victorian glory. There are plans to chop down or prune "significant" numbers of trees in Avenham and Miller parks, including many healthy ones.

The move will help pave the way for almost 500 new trees, 32,000 shrubs and 32,000 herbaceous plants the biggest replanting scheme in the history of Preston's parks.

But, while most of the trees earmarked for the chop show signs of decay, around 40 healthy trees in the Japanese gardens will be removed to fit in with the original design.

The ornate rock garden was installed in the 1930s and designed by the park superintendent of the time.

Fr Timothy Lipscomb, from the Friends of Avenham and Miller Parks, said: "It will give much better views of the park and the city. Some of the trees and bushes are rather overgrown so it's trying to restore the majesty of the park, to get the best colours and contrast."

Riverside Walk in Miller Park
Phil Carr, senior landscape architect at Preston Council, said: "If you go back to the 1930s, you can see shrubs and trees, clearly separate layers, and you can see through views and spaces beyond. Now it all seems to have merged into one.

"While the park's still beautiful, it's lost a lot of its original interest."

The multi-million pound revamp of Avenham and Miller parks has already seen a pavilion created and the restoration of buildings and the fountain.

Plans for the second phase of the regeneration received a 1.75m boost from the Heritage Lottery Fund in July.

A total of 38 diseased Horse Chestnut trees will be felled on Riverside Walk in Miller Park and replaced with disease-resistant Elms.

Ryan Arrell, the council's arboriculture officer, said: "We have to take out trees that are significantly hazardous and we are taking them out in stages."

Preston Council will debate the plans on Monday.

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© The Lancashire Evening Post, September 2009