The axeman cometh as old trees go in gardens revamp

Artist's impression of how the gardens will look
Artist's impression of how the gardens will look
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WOOD cutters will move into Preston’s landmark Winckley Square on Thursday to start felling 17 unhealthy trees ahead of a £1.2m revamp for the historic gardens.

The work signals the start of an ambitious project to transform the Georgian park, which will include improved drainage and footpaths and the restoration of the original railings.

“The removal works are part of an overall strategy to sustain and enhance the gardens’ historic tree population which gives Winckley Square such a treasured character,” explained David Gill, chairman of the Winckley Square Community Interest Company.

“All trees removed will be compensated for with replacement planting to ensure the square’s tree population remains healthy and strong for years to come.”

The scheme to restore the gardens to their former glory has the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. Once the decaying trees have been removed the main work is expected to begin in May and should be completed by the end of the year.

Ben Williams, project manager for Groundwork, said: “The trees were inspected by a qualified ecologist to ensure that there is no harm to any rare or protected species arising from the works.

“The work will all be carried out from within the gardens, so, while there might be some temporary restrictions on access, the road network will not be affected.

“Over 30 new trees will be planted later in 2016 which will reinforce the gardens’ Georgian character while ensuring Winckley Square has a well-planned, splendid tree population for future generations.”

The restoration of the square is one of a string of projects designed to regenerate Preston city centre.