Wirral Council closed the cemetery and park on Thursday 13 February due to safety concerns surrounding the avenue of 33 Lombardy Poplar trees that separate the park and cemetery and the risk they posed during the recent high winds and storms.
These trees have been inspected on several occasions and found by a number of arboriculture experts to be affected by decay, unstable or in such an overall health condition that they require urgent felling.
As a result of another recent assessment from a tree expert, further damage and deterioration of these trees has been identified and they continue to pose a significant risk to the public and require urgent removal before the park can reopen. As such, works will begin over the next few days on this avenue of trees.
Friends of Grange Park have advised that they believe there are potential bat roosts in two of these trees. The council has appointed a specialist bat ecologist to conduct a thorough survey of these trees to advise on this. These two trees will not be removed until the bat survey work has been completed and any issues arising have been appropriately addressed.
The Park cannot re-open until an assessment has been undertaken by our Arboricultural specialist and until he is satisfied that the trees no longer pose a risk to the health and safety of visitors and users of this park.
Wirral Council takes its commitment to management and maintenance of trees very seriously and is in the process of a comprehensive inspection of parks and countryside trees. It is essential that all necessary works identified from this inspections programme are undertaken.
A 10-year Tree Strategy for Wirral is nearing approval which sets out a clear policy that trees will only be felled as a last resort when they are a risk to public safety and that any tree lost will be replaced by at least one new one.
Wirral Council recognises the important part trees play in protecting our environment and supporting local ecosystems and we have already planted hundreds of trees and we have ambitious plans to plant many thousands more replacing the relatively small number that have had to be felled for safety reasons.
This strategy also recognises the importance of trees across the borough as a much-loved feature and something that contributes significantly to how we are looking to tackle the Climate Emergency.
In this instance, the council will be working with the Friends of Grange Park and Wirral Ecology Network to co-agree the replacement species with groups and park users to look at the design and the species of tree selected for the replanting.
Wirral Council would like to ensure that there is agreement as to which species of trees should be planted to ensure that the most suitable species for the area are selected.
It is hoped that the new trees, once in place, will be enjoyed by visitors to the park for many decades to come and will help restore the avenue.