The Tory council leader who ordered the felling of 110 trees in Plymouth city center in the middle of the night, RESIGNS after provoking local fury.
- The last action of the head of the Plymouth Council was to cut down 110 mature trees
- Locals and politicians have been outraged by ‘the chainsaw massacre’
The Tory leader of a council that caused outrage by cutting down more than 100 healthy trees in the city center in the middle of the night, will resign a week after the ‘chainsaw massacre’ took place.
Richard Bingley said he will step down as leader of Plymouth, Devon City Council next Monday amid an ongoing backlash over the felling of trees in Plymouth city centre.
In his resignation speech, the Tory said: “I’ve always said I’m not a full-time politician, I’m not looking to be, I’m just a passionate and ambitious individual for Plymouth.”
‘If others feel they can better manage our glorious Ocean City, then that’s great to me. “To you,” I tell him.
Plymouth Councilor Richard Bingley resigned days after ordering the felling of 110 trees in the middle of the night.
The felling of the trees sparked the fury of conservationists inside and outside the city.
Locals criticized the council’s decision to cut down the 110 mature trees.
“I urge my successors not to plunge back into small party political infighting, as that sad trend has held our city back for so many years in the past. When good people see that, they soon politely leave.
Bingley has not gone into detail about why he is stepping down.
But he has come under increasing pressure after signing an executive decision to go ahead with the £12.7m redevelopment of Armada Way, which saw 110 trees felled overnight and a subsequent legal battle with protesters.
But he insisted that this was the right thing to do and that it would result in a “wonderful wooded area where businesses, cafes and people feel safe.”
As the trees were felled just over a week ago, local Conservative MP Johnny Mercer claimed some people wanted to hang people behind in what was called a “chainsaw massacre”.
Last week, it was revealed that, although Mr. Bingley signed an executive order to cut down the trees, he owns a five-bedroom townhouse on a quiet tree-lined street half a mile from where he trees were felled.
Despite being close to the city center and train station, the imposing two-fronted terraced house, bought last year for £450,000, also has a park just down the road.
The decision to cut down the trees was also criticized by local politicians.
The Green Party said councilors did not have time to review the executive decision ordered by Bingley.
The party has called for “an independent investigation into the decision-making behind the felling of the trees.”
Green Party group leader Ian Poyser said: “This kind of green vandalism must not be repeated.”
MP Luke Pollard said: “We are in a climate emergency and your actions are nothing short of environmental vandalism.”
The decision to cut down the trees has been heavily criticized by local politicians.
A local Plymouth resident passes by the logging site, which has drawn fierce criticism.
Councilor Nick Kelly, a former Conservative who is now leader of the Independent Alliance Group, said he had rejected early plans for the redevelopment when he was council leader. He said: ‘What’s the point of having a £12.7 million scheme against so many people?’
A council poll showed that 68 percent of all respondents, 1,537 people, did not support the £12.7m Armada Way upgrade plan. The council said that if it removed responses from people who opposed it and did not give a reason, “then the scheme has significant support.”
Plymouth City Council said it was forced to fell the trees because “there is a risk that Transformative Cities Fund funds will be lost if the project is not implemented quickly.”
A council spokesperson said: ‘For reasons of public safety and the impact on the city center and given the size of the tree machinery coming to Armada Way, we schedule work to be done at night with the least amount of people possible.
“Our goal was to minimize the disruption caused to the public and businesses by cordoning off parts of Armada Way. Unfortunately, the court order meant that we had to stop working.
“Following a program compromise, the final design was modified to include 169 new semi-mature trees to plant, a revised tree planting schedule, and a commitment to investigate broader tree planting in the downtown area. We are awaiting the plaintiff’s applications as directed by the court.