The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has confirmed that a number of diseased trees will be removed from the Rushpark estate.
It follows a meeting between the housing authority and former Macedon TUV councillor David Hollis in response, he said, to speculation that large Irish oaks, “the oldest in the countryside”, were to be removed.
Mr Hollis said that a number of trees in the Doagh Road, Beechwood Avenue and Woodland Drive are to be cut down on safety grounds.
He continued that a number will be pruned and additional tree planting will take place.
Commenting on the issue, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “The Housing Executive manages many green spaces in the South Antrim area and regularly monitors the condition of trees on its land to ensure they don’t pose a risk to the public.
“We also carry out regular independent condition surveys to determine the extent of remedial works required to improve the condition and longevity of our trees. These surveys also determine if any trees have become extensively diseased and require removing to ensure the safety of the public.
“As a responsible public body it is the Housing Executive’s policy to preserve the trees and open spaces in our ownership and we will never remove trees unless there is a valid reason, such as a health and safety risk or the tree has died.”
The spokesperson added: “Our local grounds maintenance manager met with Mr Hollis last month and took him around the Rushpark area where we plan to carry out necessary maintenance.
“Four trees will be removed and five other trees, which are heavily diseased, will be closely monitored to determine if any further action is needed. Many other trees will be pruned as part of the general maintenance of the area.
“Mr Hollis was satisfied that both the removal of the trees and the remedial works to the remaining trees would ensure the safety of the public and improve the condition of existing trees.”
In December 2018, a Provisional Tree Preservation Order was issued by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to protect any trees that had been identified as being at risk in the estate.
Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for the local authority said: “The Provisional Tree Preservation Order allows the council a period of six months to consult with the owner of the land and nearby residents on the issue.”