A scheme to plant trees at a park to combat climate change has come under fire, due to fears a wooded area could be "secluded, dark and dangerous".
The Queen's Canopy Campaign has seen Rainham councillors work alongside children from The Howard School and Leigh Academy to plant 135 trees at Rainham Recreation Ground and Cozenton Park.
According to those driving the project - including Rainham councillor Martin Potter - the planting was designed to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and help Rainham play its part in the climate change agenda.
But while many in Rainham backed the sentiment, some residents and community group members raised concerns about the location of the 35 trees planted at Rainham Recreation Ground last week.
The Friends of Rainham Recreation Ground posted on Facebook: "Some of you may have noticed some new additions to the Rec. For once the new trees are nothing to do with us and we have no idea where they come from.
"We’re going to ask Medway Council who planted them, as normally our group would be consulted about any changes made to the park.
"Meanwhile, we know planting trees is great but what do people think about them? Speaking to a few members and dog walkers, some have raised some concerns about their location.
"For once the new trees are nothing to do with us and we have no idea where they come from..."
"Some said that it could make that section more secluded and dark, potentially making it dangerous at night.
"Some mentioned it was too close to the kicking wall, and stops it being used. Others said it would have been better to plant them around the edge."
A number of residents agreed, with one stating: "I'm all for more trees but yes this placement seems rather random more along the edges or along the path lines, not in the green itself.
"I also think there isn't enough lighting around the park. Okay yes I get that's probably to protect the wildlife but it's an already pretty dark area, more trees means it'll be even darker."
Another added: "To me, this is frightful. Already a dark area of the park and it’s about to be closed in more."
Nevertheless, there was also support for the plan on the group page, with one commenting: "Well done Cllr Potter and the school children for planting more trees in Medway."
Speaking to KentOnline, Friends of Rainham Recreation Ground chairman Stuart Bourne, said he and the group wasn't against more trees, but said the council had not properly consulted them before planting.
"We've always been involved with the council in planting more trees," he said.
"It's been one of our main aims since the beginning. We've worked with Medway Council officers in planting trees - we planted four last week.
"The group was a bit shocked that 35 trees went up without the group being told about it.
"We're always happy with any trees being planted, but there are concerns that members have raised about communication.
"Normally the friends' group would be consulted on something like this. As a voice in the community we have a say in how the park is managed, and in return the council gets free volunteers."
Cllr Martin Potter was reticent to engage with the debate, especially in light of the hard work by children involved, but he insisted the Friends group had been consulted.
"With regard to the group we did contact them on October 14 but unfortunately we received no response from them," he said.
"We previously showed tree planting plans to some of the leadership of this group in Teams meetings.
"With regard to the group we did contact them on October 14 but unfortunately we received no response from them..."
"Rainham councillors have a long established and proud track record of working with anyone and everyone who can add value to our community.
"This includes previously supporting the group in question with equipment to plant bulbs, supporting litter picks and offering to provide funding for two mature trees to be planted on the perimeter of the play area.
"This year alone we've also worked with a number of local schools, businesses, allotments, charities and community groups for the benefit of the Rainham community and our door is always open."
Explaining the benefits of the project he said: "The pupils worked really hard and it was wonderful to see them so excited to contribute to their community and the climate change agenda.
"There was also an educational aspect to the involvement of the pupils as they not only learned how to plant a tree but also focused on why we use certain techniques and how the trees will develop supporting climate change and biodiversity efforts.
"The sites were chosen to not impact on amenity areas or playing pitches and the trees are well spaced and less dense than other planting to create a small open woodland feature where children can run between trees, and families along with other users can enjoy walking through with ease. We are continuing to work with Medway Council and local schools on planting more trees in Rainham.
"As the Climate Change Engagement Lead for Medway Council, working closely with Cllr Howard Doe, I am very keen to see more community tree planting across Medway by local groups, businesses, schools, councillors and, of course, individuals at home.
"Tree planting is one of the key pillars of our climate change plan and we need everyone to play their part."
Elsewhere on Facebook, the project drew a positive response.
"Fantastic, well done everyone," said one commentator in reply to Leigh Academy's post. Another added: "Haven’t been to Rainham Rec for a very long time. Nice to see it is being cared for."