5th Mar, 2021

Campaigners fighting to save a 200-year-old tree in Bromsgrove as landowner tries to get preservation order removed

CAMPAIGNERS are fighting to save a tree which is more than 200 years old.

They say the evergreen Wellingtonia on the Greyfriars estate is under threat with the landowner claiming it is deceased and dangerous.

An application to remove the Tree Preservation Order was refused by Bromsgrove District Council and an appeal has now been lodged with the Secretary of State.

One resident said: “We have all bought our houses here, on the site of the former Whitford School, in appreciation of the ambience of the many historic trees here and the responsibility on us as their guardians.

“We are very concerned an application to fell the tree – rightly refused by the Bromsgrove District Council – is now being pursued further by the applicant through an appeal.

“We think is not just a total waste of public money, but an assault on nature and on our historic landscape.”

Coun Maria Middleton added: “I am passionate about the residents’ plight to save this tree, as I am absolutely committed to our green agenda.

“I’ve seen this tree – it’s glorious.

“I do not understand why someone, who buys a house with a TPO tree on its grounds, prior to buying, wouldn’t undertake the necessary checks to understand what is involved in its maintenance and management, which can be expensive and involved.

“A sizeable tree of the stature and age of this giant Wellingtonia is the epitome of the ultimate Christmas tree, in my opinion.

“These trees were here first, and we should not resort to chopping them down, just because we can’t be bothered to maintain and protect them.”

She added Bromsgrove District Council, in a cross-party effort, had signed up to the climate emergency agenda and was committed to protecting trees, particularly those of historic significance to this town and the district.

A council spokesperson said: “Whilst we cannot discuss the exact details or reasoning behind individual cases, we stand by our decision not to remove this Tree Preservation Order.”

An independent expert will now be sent by the Secretary State for Communities and Local Government to inspect the tree.

The spokesperson added: “It is always possible that their decision may vary from the one we have made.”

Email Coun Middleton at m.middleton@bromsgrove.gov.uk for more information and to show support for the campaign.

The Standard contacted the landowner’s agent this week but no-one has responded.

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