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CCTV visibility among obstacles for more trees on Station Road and Old Milton Road in New Milton

CONCERNS over obscuring CCTV views are among obstacles impeding additional trees in New Milton town centre.

Resident Julia Stamper was told of the issues at a recent town council amenities committee meeting as she called for the plantings to help soften the appearances of Station Road and Old Milton Road.

Extolling trees’ benefits for the environment and personal wellbeing, Mrs Stamper cited a study that suggested they boosted high street footfall and spending.

“We all know money’s short and there are very few things such as a quick win, but this would be a quick win,” she said.

Station Road, New Milton's high street
Station Road, New Milton's high street

“There are some really ugly buildings along Station Road, which have been neglected by their landlords.

“Trees would really help to screen and just smoothen out the appearance of the street.”

Amenities chairman Cllr Geoffrey Blunden responded he fully supported tree planting across the parish but stressed any on Station Road was up to Hampshire County Council.

Also unsure of any suitable sites on the street, he said: “We can make suggestions [to HCC], but we’re not in charge of our own destiny for Station Road.”

There were concerns about trees obscuring CCTV cameras’ views (picture: stock image)
There were concerns about trees obscuring CCTV cameras’ views (picture: stock image)

Town council estates and facilities manager Mark Jeffries pointed out previous bids to plant more trees on Station Road had failed.

This was down to concerns their roots can damage paving, he explained, adding a bench recently had to be removed due to this.

The CCTV issue was raised by town clerk Graham Flexman, who said the police and New Forest District Council wanted existing trees trimmed to aid visibility.

Cllr Steve Clarke confirmed there had been previous problems caused by trees obscuring cameras’ views.

“We have had several circumstances where trees obstructing cameras have prevented crimes being solved and people being identified,” he explained.

“I support the idea of planting trees, but the number and height can be quite problematic.”

Town mayor Cllr David Hawkins had reservations about adding trees to Old Milton Road due to the paths’ limited widths, fearing this could impede people with buggies.

But, although acknowledging the issues and concerns, Cllr Valya Schooling believed compromises should be found to help soften the streets’ appearance.

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