PLANS to extend a Bournemouth mental health care unit for young people have attracted a backlash from residents over a proposal to cut down more than a dozen trees.

Dorset HealthCare NHS trust’s scheme to build an eight-bed psychiatric intensive care facility at its Herbert Hospital centre in Alumhurst Road has attracted 75 letters of objection.

Most centre around the proposal to remove all but two of the trees on the site, with many being the subject of tree preservation orders.

A planning application was submitted by the trust in August which said that the new accommodation was “much needed”.

“The new facility has been carefully designed to provide a high-quality appearance that will sit well in the site and does not dominate its neighbours,” a report submitted with the proposal says.

“It will provide a quality long-term contribution to the healthcare provision for the surrounding community.

“The unit will be set within a highly landscaped environment and has been set at a low level to reduce its impact.

“The new landscaping will mature and the visual impact of the building will be significantly reduced as time progresses.”

An arboricultural statement submitted with the application says that the loss of the trees will have a “significant” visual impact but that the proposed unit would be “a considerable” asset to the county.

However, residents have hit out at the proposal to chop down most of the site’s 17 trees which are covered by a tree preservation order introduced in 2017.

Amanda Brown, who neighbours the hospital, said: “The felling of 15 trees with TPOs makes a mockery of the whole protection game and as a local resident with a chine to the rear of my property, I can vouch for the difficulty encountered to even get permission for the odd branch to be removed.

“These mature trees have been part of the landscape for hundreds of years and the proposal to fell them is completely detrimental to the area and especially to those residents who live within close proximity to the proposed building.

“Not only will they be aesthetically compromised by losing the green and lush backdrop, replaced by a modern, high concrete building and a five-metre high steel fence, but also with the increased noise levels due to the lack of buffering by trees.”

Concerns have also been raised about the lack of consultation with residents, however the trust says that its two days of public consultation in July were only attended by people from six households.

The application will be considered by Bournemouth council in the coming weeks.