Shock as established Brooke Park trees cut down

Help survey trees as winter turns to spring
Help survey trees as winter turns to spring

A Rosemount woman has expressed concerns that some of the old trees in Brooke Park are being pulled down as part of ongoing redevelopment works.

Mary McCauley from Rosemount Avenue contacted the Journal to express her concerns after witnessing ropes being tied to a huge tree across the street on Tuesday afternoon.

She said a number of other trees nearby have already been felled in the Derry City Council-owned park.

A three week closure is currently in force at Brooke Park to facilitate preparatory works on site for a major £5.6m revamp.

Mrs McCauley said: “They are cutting down the huge big iconic trees at the entrance to Brooke Park and I am absolutely shocked to the back teeth.

“I thought this was supposed to be a restoration project.”

Mrs McCauley said that there was currently a plan for a Multi-Use Games Area on the site, but said that this was a dear price to pay in terms of sacrificing natural heritage for new facilities.

“This restoration of Brooke Park was supposed to be about restoration, preservation, conservation of the park,” she said. “The whole idea was to restore it to its original beauty.

“You would never see a photograph of Brooke Park without that tree.”

Mrs McCauley said that local residents had previously had concerns that “a huge chunk” of the old wall at the park had been cut away to allow for works access as well.

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said that the removal of “a small number of trees at Brooke Park” was “part of the ongoing extensive programme of regeneration works taking place to transform the public park”.

She said that the large tree to the front of the site “is an elm tree that was identified in a tree report commissioned prior to the works commencing, as having Dutch Elm Disease.”

She also said that as part of the regeneration project, an additional 130 trees are being planted within the park.

The regeneration project is funded by the Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Department for Social Development.

Earlier this year it was promised that the project would see the restoration of historic features, as well as a range of facilities including a Play Garden and Gwyn’s Pavilion, a new synthetic pitch, Horticulture Training Centre and Contact Sports Centre.

The work is expected to take 15 months, and is due to be completed by the summer of 2016.