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Political and Environmental Vandalism at Ashington County Hall - 20 trees destroyed

January 22, 2017 9:08 PM
By Andrew Tebbutt

A wanton & disgraceful act of political, senseless vandalism took place within the County Hall environs over the weekend. All the mature trees in the 2 inner courtyards, about 20 in total, have been cut down in a covert operation, in which staff who were in the know were threatened with dismissal if the information got out. At least the vigilance of a local resident, walking his dog & seeing what was happening, called members of the South Morpeth Coalition. They in turn contacted me, so we took pictures of it happening, but too late to stop the destruction.

But why? No planning approvals have yet been granted for the site, including demolition of County Hall. The new Ashington HQ will not be ready until mid-2018, still more than 2 years away. The trees were healthy & the courtyards enjoyed by staff in their lunch hour. Staff will be occupying this building until the move actually takes place.

I have contacted the Journal, who will be running the story tomorrow, and the Morpeth Herald. I have also contacted the BBC & a Daily Mail reporter who is exploring the wider issues around the closure of County Hall. I am also challenging the Chief Executive as to why he authorised this subversive action.

It appears that other trees, adjacent to the main A197, are scheduled to be cut down shortly. I will be challenging that decision.