A community leader has revealed hundreds of trees are to be be chopped down across Valley Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire, after being infected with ash dieback.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), announced trees by Knightwood Primary School, Bellflower Way, will be the first to be felled after they became infected with the disease.

Mr Dowden said he is "devastated" to see the trees wiped out across the woodlands after putting in a bid to plant 165 trees at Valley Park.

He said: "I am devastated hundreds of trees in the Valley Park woodlands have been struck with this disease and we will start be carrying out work to remove infected trees.

"I love the woodlands and this will make a significant impact to the area, because it will take years for the area to recover with different types of trees.

"However, at Valley Park Parish Council we have made a bid to plant 165 mature trees over the next three years and it will get school children involved as well.

"The public are behind it and now it will be needed more than ever."

Community and leisure portfolio holder, cllr Ian Jeffrey, said: “Sadly, ash dieback is a very real problem across the country and the borough is no exception.

"Having been aware of the challenge this disease presents for some time, the council has been undertaking surveys and planning for the future as best it can.

“At this stage, both in Valley Park and beyond, we are continuing our surveys to determine which trees may be infected with the disease, and which present the greatest risk.

"Subject to Forestry Commission approval and Tree Protection Orders, we continue to plan ahead and propose options for replanting.”

It is not currently known how many trees will be cut down.

This story first appeared in the Romsey Advertiser.

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