Residents label the cutting down of Torquay’s renowned palm trees as nothing but mindless destruction.

Public outcry ensues after the council in Devon cuts down numerous trees along the seafront of the ‘English riviera’ town, sparking controversy.

Residents have expressed their anger over the abrupt removal of 40 palm trees in Torquay, describing it as an act of “pure vandalism.”

The felling of these trees has caused a significant outcry from the public, accusing the council of causing a “soul-destroying,” “total destruction” of the beloved seaside front.

For over a century, these palm trees have been a welcoming sight for visitors to the ‘English riviera’. They have been standing in the Italian Gardens, overlooking Torre Abbey Sands, since their initial planting in 1924. Some locals claim that these palms are synonymous with the seaside town, even being referenced in an episode of Fawlty Towers by the hapless hotel manager, Basil Fawlty.

Unfortunately, without any consultation or prior notice, dozens of these iconic palm trees have been chopped down to their stumps by Torbay council. This action was taken as part of the restoration plans for the gardens in preparation for its upcoming 100th anniversary next year.

Residents have taken to social media to voice their concerns, with one stating, “There appears to be a deliberate effort to remove our cherished palm trees – an iconic and symbolic image of Torbay.” Another writes, “Felling palm trees is never a positive thing. The council lacks empathy and is unfit for its purpose.”

In response, councillor Adam Billings acknowledged the council’s failure to communicate the plans effectively and shared the frustration of the residents. He admitted, “If you were in my position, you too would be deeply disappointed. This falls short of the standards expected by our local community and the council’s cabinet.”

The council has assured the public that the garden will undergo transformation throughout the winter and spring, including additional planting. They explained that the palms had shown significant degradation over the past two decades, leading to the decision to upgrade the site with the help of contractors.

During a public consultation in 2019, the restoration of the Italian Gardens was identified as a priority. However, due to the pandemic, the implementation of the scheme was delayed.

This incident echoes a previous controversy in Plymouth, where 110 trees were secretly removed in March 2023 as part of the city’s Armada Way renovation. This resulted in the resignation of the council’s Conservative leader.

This is not the first time Torquay’s palm trees have sparked controversy. In 2009, palms were uprooted near the harbor, causing a local councilor to describe it as “carnage.” Three years prior, concerns were raised about the potential harm caused by palms placed in inappropriate locations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *