Letter: Could retaining wall collapse be related to large number of trees being removed?

This reader raises a theory that the large number of trees removed from a site in Ventnor could have had a knock-on effect on Belgrave Road

Belgrave road

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This from a reader who would prefer to remain anonymous, Ventnor. Ed

On thinking about the partial collapse of the retaining wall in Belgrave Road, it occurred to me that the road is below an area where a large number of trees were removed in the winter of 2019 by the developers of a site at the top of Grove Road. 

This area had the trees removed, I believe, due to the concerns they would undermine the wall. 

My concern however is the impact that this large number of trees being removed has had on the ground in an already unstable area of Ventnor. 

Close up of where the trees have been removed
Trees removed from Grove Road site

Roots help to keep the soil stable
I have a masters degree in Building Surveying and the importance of trees and ground stability was something I remember well. 

The roots help to keep the soil stable and also absorb large amounts of water. 

Grove Road and Belgrave Road marked on Google maps

In my view
I can only imagine that this removal of such a large number of trees has caused additional instability to the soil and also allowed a lot more water than would normally flow, down toward the shore; coupled with the large amount of rainfall, this has made the land where Belgrave Road stands unstable and slippage has occurred. 

This water would bypass under the properties on the edge of the road if they are built on solid foundations on stone, and accumulate in the already unstable area on which the road is built. 

Monday, 9th March, 2020 1:12pm


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Filed under: Letter to the Editor, Planning, Roads, Travel, Ventnor

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4 Comments on "Letter: Could retaining wall collapse be related to large number of trees being removed?"

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I was only talking to my Husband about this last week – that the tree roots will rot over the next few years and cause instability on that area of the road. Is that ….common sense?

Strangely, My wife and I were also talking about the decimation of that whole area and our concerns were that the HUGE retaining wall could be weakened by the removal of mature and well established trees. Despite comments to the contrary, this whole exercise seems to be in order to build more bungalows in a very dark and damp area of the property and we wondered just… Read more »

You are absolutely correct in thinking that the removal of such a large number of mature trees has caused instability to the soil in the ground situated above Belgrave Road.
Unfortunately there are invariably serious knock on effects as we are seeing.

We had the same convo in our household, reading the original report in December. The cleared area looked over-exposed to the elements & the fact that it was even permitted on land known to be unstable smacks of either appalling ignorance or an irresponsible & uncaring attitude. Interesting that the link between the cleared land & the subsequent damage beneath, was not recognised or reported sooner; didn’t… Read more »