Torquay residents 'gobsmacked' after 40 palm trees chopped down on English Riviera

  • Watch Jacquie Bird's report.

Palm trees have been chopped down in a seafront garden in Torquay, sparking an angry reaction from locals.

The trees have been felled by Torbay Council, who said some showed significant signs of decline. It's part of the restoration of the Italian Gardens for their 100th anniversary next year.

The gardens are one of the reasons the area is known as the English Riviera.

One local woman said: "I'm gobsmacked, I just cannot believe it. It's a lovely area and the trees made it really." Another said: "It's just awful."

40 palm trees have been felled in the Italian Gardens.

Torbay Council held a consultation on the plans to cut the trees down in 2019 but Covid meant the plans were delayed.

Councillor Adam Billings said he shared people's "frustrations" and acknowledged Torbay Council had "dropped the ball" on reminding the public about the plans.

"You can appreciate if you were in my shoes, you'd be equally disappointed," he said.

"It's clearly not the standard that our local community or indeed the cabinet member expects of the council."

Mr Billings added that the trees' removal was part of a plan to bring up the planting in the Italian Gardens. This will include low-maintenance plants that thrive all year round.