A CAMPAIGNER'S call to save six trees bordering a town hall annexe facing demolition has been rejected.

The north and south annexes of Wallasey Town Hall are currently being taken down to make way for a planned development of almost 149 homes. Demolition work is expected to take 20 weeks.

Work on the South Annexe site has been completion with demolition of the North annexe, which is described as in 'close proximity' to the six trees, now underway.

Local resident Paul Cardin had recently written to council leader Paul Stuart, asking him to do his "utmost" to "prevent these beautiful trees being felled if that is the council's intention."

In his address to the authority's environment, climate emergency and transport committee when it met on Monday night, Mr Cardin accused the authority and officers of failing "to make any provision for protecting the six cherry trees". These concerns were rejected by committee chair Liz Grey, who said the trees would be replaced with new ones "to enhance the biodiversity and eco-system service provision for the area".

Mr Cardin said in his statement to the committee: "The demolition of this building is imminent, possibly in progress or possibly now completed as this Environment Committee meeting takes place.

"If the council had made full provision to protect these trees, we would not have found ourselves in a situation where they are likely to be chopped down due to their proximity to the works.

"With thoughtful planning, this situation was both foreseeable and avoidable.

Wirral Globe: The six trees bordering Wallasey town hall's north annexe that is being demolishedThe six trees bordering Wallasey town hall's north annexe that is being demolished (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)"If the council leader and his officers had envisaged this situation arising, the trees could have been either carefully shielded from damage or potentially transplanted to another nearby location.

"If carried out professionally and with due care, it is entirely feasible to transplant mature trees. Wirral Council employs a number of staff who are qualified to carry out this specialist work.

"The display boards outside the Brighton Street site clearly indicate that the works are 'government funded'.

"I believe it would have been possible to make representations to central government in order to apply for the funds needed to avoid destroying these beautiful, blossoming trees."

In response, Cllr Grey said: "You have my sympathy, because the trees are beautiful. It's always difficult to see mature trees go, so we do understand and appreciate your concerns.

"It was determined that a successful retention of the trees in such proximity to the buildings would not be possible, therefore, the very difficulty decision was made to remove the trees and ensure adequate replacement.

"The decision was made to allocate resources towards replacement planting instead of attempting transplantation, which was more likely to be successful as we move forward with the ambitious regeneration proposals for the second corridor and the area around Wallasey Town Hall.

"We will use this opportunity to replace the trees with new ones to enhance the biodiversity and eco-system service provision for the area.

"We do acknowledge the concerns raised and assure you that every effort will be made to mitigate the impact of this tree loss, ensuring that the replacement trees are well-suited to the environment and and will establish successfully."

Wirral Globe: Demolition of Wallasey town hall's south annexe is now completeDemolition of Wallasey town hall's south annexe is now complete (Image: Craig Manning / Newsquest)Addressing Mr Cardin's concerns that the trees would be felled without checking for the existence of birds or bats within the trees, Cllr Grey responded: "I asked that question at the time and can pretty much guarantee that they would not take trees down without checking them first. That is their job."

The annexes' demolition is the first step in plans to regenerate the area around Wallasey Town hall and is being funded by £2.3m from the second round of Brownfield Land Release Fund.

This requires housing to be delivered on the sites by 2027 and Wirral Council plans for 149 homes to be built in the form of two three or four storey developments on the annexe sites.

"Ambitious proposals" revealed for the wider area around the town hall also show plans for 496 homes, new commercial and retail space in the area, a new leisure centre, and a new park. It also identified potential for a mass transit system as part of its longer term ambitions.

The leisure centre at Guinea Gap will remain until funding is granted for a new facility that is proposed next to the new Riverside Primary School. Parking could be provided via underground parking or multi-storey 'car barns.'

The council also proposes improving access from the area around the town hall to the promenade and said alternative connections for people in wheelchairs, or with prams or cycling were needed. New road crossings and tree planting are proposed.

According to the proposals, the Department for Education is supporting construction of a new Riverside Primary school. The plans are currently being looked at by Wirral Council following public feedback.

After Monday night's meeting of the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee, Mr Cardin said: "By not making any provision for the future of these trees and by not referring to their existence within any of the detailed Town Hall Quarter plans, the council has opened itself to justified criticism of its actions.

"If this building demolition was occurring in a more affluent area of the borough, I imagine Councillor Grey would have been far more transparent.

"But as it's Seacombe, they assumed they could say nothing and get away with it."