Saving the trees in Canton

Some protesters gathered in Thomson’s Park. Photo: CNP

Some Canton residents are protesting against chopping down the ancient trees at Suffolk House, which is located on the corner of  Romilly Road and Llandaff road. There is a children’s nursery, a church and an old people’s home opposite this place. They say they will be affected a lot if the trees are cut down.

‘‘This is one of the most controversial applications being heard since I was elected,’’ says Stephen Cunnah, a Canton councillor.

Quin & Co Ltd propose to transform Suffolk House into brand-new apartments. The proposals have elicited protests by Canton residents for various reasons. But protecting the trees is the most significant one.

Peter Bowen, a local historian who lives near the proposed position, says he is very worried about losing these trees since they are ancient and rare, including Copper Beech, Limes and Holm Oak. “These trees could be 150 years old,” he says.

Suffolk House. Photo: CNP

However, the growing roots of these huge trees have damaged the old wall, which was built by limestone, has been there for generations. The trees and the damaged wall could be obstacles for the developers as they plan to develop more space for new buildings.

For a lot of local residents, these ancient and magnificent trees have played a significant role in improving the air quality in this area for years. They are located on the corner of very busy Romilly Road and Llandaff road, which means they can absorb a lot of carbon dioxide from vehicle exhaust fumes and provide oxygen every day.

The air pollution rate in Cardiff is not low when compared with other major cities in the UK. Chopping down the trees can be completed in a very short time, but planting the trees and waiting for them to grow up should take a long time.

Just like Stephen Cunnah, a lot of Canton residents do not object to the development itself, however, they think the developers should take more historic, environmental and traffic problems into consideration.

A church(left) and a children’s nursery (right).Photo: CNP

In terms of environmental provisions, Stephen Cunnah mentions the developers have said that they will plant new trees. But it is not enough for campaigners because they think the new trees can never replace the old trees which can absorb more carbon dioxide.

The final result of the proposals was expected to publish at the meeting on 23 January. But it was delayed. “Because there is one report needed before it can be considered by the committee. It could be the next meeting in February but we don’t know for sure yet,” Stephen Cunnah says.

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