Residents want to see sea, not trees

After the drama of Laman Street, Newcastle City Council had hoped its plans to plant 30,000 new street trees throughout the city would be much less controversial.

Not so at Stockton, where residents are taking legal action to stop tree plantings they believe will block their ocean views and reduce the value of their homes.

The council said yesterday it would soon plant beach hibiscus trees in Mitchell Street on "the boundary line of every second property in order to maximise the view corridors for the residents".

The trees can grow to 10 metres with a bushy canopy, but the council says they will be pruned during the first few years to ensure they grow straight and true.

But Mitchell Street residents are upset and angry, and claim they haven't been properly consulted and will still be badly affected.

Bob Dein said the strip is one of the most desirable locations on the east coast.

"These trees, if planted . . . will have nothing but an adverse effect on us all," Mr Dein said.

"There are no parts of Stockton, no people in Stockton that are going to benefit from these trees."

Forty-nine people have signed a petition during the past few days and late yesterday, a lawyer acting for residents advised the council they were taking legal action.

The council said street tree planting had been taking place in Stockton for 12 months, and residents were advised about the plan through advertisements, public meetings and on-site discussions.

"The Mitchell Street tree planting is part of a suburb-wide greening project," a spokeswoman said.

"Over the past 12 months, council has planted about 1068 street trees in Stockton."

The council said extreme storms and wood borer attack had destroyed many mature trees in the area.

"Due to the loss of trees and the ageing condition of the few remaining large ones, Stockton needed new tree planting to improve lost amenity," the spokeswoman said.

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