Council steps in to give local boy early Christmas present

Council teams have rallied together to help make a little boy’s wish come true just in time for Christmas – by re-planting a tree.

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Ben planting the tree with the Mayor

When local ward councillors addressed residents’ concerns by paving the way for the creation of new parking bays in Darwin Close, Nythe, it appeared a local problem had been solved much to the delight of all those involved.

However, in order to create the five new spaces, a Hornbeam tree would have to be removed, leaving seven-year-old Ben Osmond in tears.

SwindonTown Centre Fairytale BIG Christmas Lights Switch-on SwindonTown Centre Fairytale BIG Christmas Lights Switch-on

After hearing how much Ben loved the tree outside his home, Swindon Borough Council’s East Locality team in conjunction with colleagues in highways and parks, and with the support of ward councillors, agreed to plant a new tree in its place.

The Council contacted Ben’s mum Liz Mawer and the Nylands pupil chose to replace the former tree with a Field maple. Ben, who turns eight later this month, helped to plant the new tree this morning, 14 December, with the help of Mayor Cllr Andrew Bennett.

Ben with the new tree
Ben with the new tree in Darwin Close, Nythe

“Ben saw the plans and when he saw that the tree was going to be removed he burst into tears and was really quite upset,” explained Liz. “He was not happy with anyone at the Council, but I said he could phone them and explain what the tree means to him, which is what we did.

“The tree was outside Ben’s room so he had grown quite attached to it and was always playing around it. It has been great that the Council have been so understanding. They’ve listened to our concerns from the very start and they’ve made a little boy very happy. Ben is quite proud of himself now.”

Cllr Dale Heenan, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Transport and local ward councillor for the area, said: “Local residents have been asking for more parking spaces in Darwin Close for a while, and I am glad we found a practical solution.

“It’s taken nearly a year to reach this point, and it is great that the Council have listened to Ben’s concerns and gone the extra mile to keep him happy. Well done Ben, never be afraid to speak up for what you believe.

“The new tree is a nice way to round off the works in Darwin Close and will provide a lasting landmark for Ben and his neighbours to enjoy in the years to come.”

Similar schemes to create additional parking spaces in Egerton Close and Keble Close will start in the new year.