Creetown residents are up in arms this week after five Golden Acer trees – planted 10 years ago to mark the Queen’s golden jubilee – were hacked down by a caravan park owner over “road safety” concerns.
Dorothy Scherrer, from the Creetown Initiative, told The Galloway Gazette: “The five Acer Platanoides were planted by the schoolchildren for the jubilee in 2002 and they were just coming into their autumn colours. People are staggered the trees are gone for no good reason.”
Mrs Scherrer said the architect who was involved in the project had chosen a site that would ensure the trees would not restrict visibility at the junction onto the A75.
Alistair Caird, from the Castle Cary Holiday Park, said that the trees had to go after he created a new entrance to his holiday park near to where they were planted on the south side of Creetown.
He said: “I did cut down the trees but it was to do with road safety, and the instructions to do it came from Transport Scotland.
“There were safety issues at the junction onto the A75 and we had to adhere to requests from Transport Scotland to improve safety.
“We have also had to cut down all bushes and trees on the south side of the A75.
“Also in the remit were instructions to clear all the gorse bushes and willow scrub all the way up to the new bridge in case of a blind spot and we have also had to install white lineage to signify a waiting zone.
“At our request they let us retain a number of trees that follow the existing hedgeline but originally they wanted them all cleared so that all south bound traffic is visible from the junction.
“This has greatly improved road safety.
“They have very stringent methods and when Transport Scotland are involved they just push through with their remit so any trees remaining are thanks to ourselves.
“We happen to own one of the nicest hardwood woods in south-west Scotland. Last year I planted 4000 trees and this autumn I have plans to plant a further 2000.
“I don’t go about cutting trees down – it was an order. For every tree cut down, we have planted hundreds.”
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “These trees were removed for a new development to make the road safer. Had we been aware of any significance of them, we would have seen if there was any way in which they could have been replanted.
“We advised the developer that only the trees that were in the sightline between the two junctions should be removed, so it should have been possible to keep some of them in place.”
Kirkmabreck Community Council will discuss the matter at its meeting on Monday night.