13 July 2017, by Gavin McEwan
Leicester City Council will shortly begin removing or cutting back many overgrown trees and shrubs in the grounds of the city’s largest entertainment venue, to bring the landscape closer to its early 20th century design.
The three-hectare grounds of De Montfort Hall by the city’s Victoria Park were laid out in a formal style to complement the Grade II listed venue, which opened in 1913. They currently contain around 250 trees and shrubs – many more than originally planned.
Around 50 trees are now due to be removed, around half of which are small self-sown trees or saplings, the others being trees with significant defects and damage, or which may become hazardous to visitors.
A further 20 trees will undergo some pruning, crown-lifting or other works to help keep them healthy and prevent future problems.
Due to begin on 17 July, the work is expected to take three weeks and will cost about £50,000.
The hall’s general manager Antony Flint said:
“It is a shame that we’ve got to consider removing some trees from De Montfort Hall’s gardens, but it necessary to ensure that the other trees can continue to grow healthily and in the way the gardens were originally planned.
“We’ve consulted with tree experts, ecologists, landscape planners and English Heritage on this, and they agree that the planted areas of the gardens are now quite overcrowded. The resulting lack of light and space is having a detrimental effect on the health and integrity of some of the significant trees in the gardens.”
Among these are two cedar trees believed to be between 200 and 300 years old, and a giant redwood thought to be around 150 years old.