Eighteen mature chestnut trees will be chopped down on a historic riverside walk by the Abbey Ruins.

Chestnut Walk is set to be transformed but will see the loss of mature horse chestnut tree, which will be replaced with sweet chestnut trees.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) will replace failing trees, re-tarmac the route and introduce pedestrian lighting and CCTV at Chestnut Walk.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for heritage, said: “Unfortunately, we are to see the passing of those trees but we will replace them with something more robust.”

Situated next to the Abbey Ruins – which Reading Borough Council reopened to the public last year – Chestnut Walk is planted with a distinctive avenue of 18 mature horse chestnut trees.

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Several trees have been removed over the last three years, after an inspection revealed significant defects in many of them.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) will now replace all the trees to ensure the walkway remains safe and attractive.

Councillor Jeanette Skeats, leader of the Conservative group, said: “They are diseased and the safety of the public has to come first.”

The Horse Chestnuts will be replaced with 14 sweet chestnut trees.

Green Party councillor Rob White called for council to replace the number of tree years lost rather than the number of trees.

He said: “We are losing 1,383 tree years.

“I would hope the council could put some more thought into tree year compensation planting.

“There are some locations where a number of trees could be planted.”

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, responded: “Nobody’s spent longer challenging the need to fell these trees than myself and Cllr Rowland as we also represent that area.

“They are diseased and unsafe. In the last five years, RBC has felled 242 trees on its own land and replaced those with 865 trees.

“Wherever we can, we replace not just one for one but in this case nearly four to one. If we can get that higher we do.

“We are committed to massive tree planting in the borough wherever we can.”

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Councillors approved the plans at next week’s Policy committee on Thursday, September 26.

The council anticipate the revamp of Chestnut Walk will cost around £160,000.