Trees in Newark saved thanks to 11th-hour deal just as they were about to be chopped by district council
The tree chop on land next to Newark Library has been stopped provided councillors vote for an eleventh-hour deal offered by the landowner.
Keith Girling, deputy leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, made the announcement on the green space just after 2.30pm — saying landowner Dan Derry had been extremely generous in the last-minute offer.
He said both Mr Derry and the council would take a financial hit but that the land would remain as open green space if council members voted for the undisclosed agreement at an extraordinary full council set to be arranged as soon as possible.
"Over the last few weeks since the full council meeting I've been getting quite a lot of representations from protesters in terms of this land here," Mr Girling said.
"I've been talking to the landowner to see if there's some kind of compromise that we could come up with as a council and the landowner.
"Before I say what the result is, I want to thank those who have demonstrated and protested well and with some dignity. The ones who haven't should be ashamed of themselves.
"Less than an hour ago we've had another offer from Dan Derry, he said he realises what is going on and is all for the environment.
"I really appreciate the fact he has listened to my concerns and we've come up with a solution.
"I can't tell you what that is yet, it has to go through solicitors, and because the decision to do the carpark was made via full council, the offer has to go back to full council."
He said this meeting would be brought forward as soon as possible.
"From a personal point of view, I'm in favour of it (the deal) and Mr Derry has been very generous," said Mr Girling.
"There is still a cost to the council but from my point of view, the people have spoken and we've listened to them."
Mr Girling said the trees had been saved provided councillors vote for it the full council and that work on the site had now been halted.
"The site is safe until then," he said.
He added if the council agree, the site would remain as open green space.
"There's a substantial hit that Mr Derry is taking and a substantial hit we are taking as a council," he said.
"Because of Mr Derry's generosity, it won't be that much (the £600,000 the council thought)."
He added the decision was not a U-turn.
"You can call it a U-turn if you want but believe it or not I like trees — if you saw some of the emails I get you'd think I hate trees," he said. "I like open spaces, we are a Green Flag award-winning council — we appreciate the land we've got
"It's not a U-turn."
Mr Girling said the felling of the trees was very close to taking place had the deal not come about.
"This was a last minute offer," he said.
He added the fencing would have to stay put until the council made its decision.