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Concerns expressed as "well-established" Taunton tree gets the chop
4:00pm Monday 7th October 2013 in News
A CONCERNED Taunton resident has hit out at Taunton Deane Borough Council for what he feels is the “needless destruction” of a “long-established” tree.
However TDBC's aboricultural inspector has said it's a question of public safety – that’s why the tree has to go.
Barry Nowlan from Priorswood, came to the County Gazette to register his concerns after seeing that one of a line of “three, dirty, great, well-established” trees, standing along the riverbank running alongside Coal Orchard Car Park was being “sawn up and taken down” this afternoon.
He said: “I asked them why it’s necessary for this long-established tree to be destroyed in this way, and they said because it was split. But when you look at it, any other tree splits above trunk level; it doesn’t look in any way dangerous. It looks as if it’s well-weathered, and been like that for years.”
The retired former bank worker and Somerset County Council employee added: “If this was London, they’d have far more respect for trees, flowers, shrubs. But because it’s Taunton, there are so many fields and trees and hedges around, that it’s no longer special.
“If it were recently split there would be green wood there … I just feel it’s an exercise to provide council workers with something to do.”
Responding to Mr Nowlan’s concerns, arboricultural inspector for Taunton Deane Borough Council, Mark Holloway, said: “A large branch split off from it last week that rendered the tree unsafe. It has been dying back for a long time, and it’s lost branches pretty much every year.
“We only take trees down if there’s a health and safety issue. The last thing we are going to do is start cutting down healthy trees. But are taking this one down and monitoring the other two trees. You can see there’s a lot of dead in the upper crown – it’s not a fantastic specimen. There’s nothing, so far as I am aware, due to built there. It’s a very public area and we need to ensure the safety of the public.”
A TDBC spokesperson added: “The group of Macrocarpa trees in the Coal Orchard Car Park have been in decline for a number of years.
“With the safety of the public paramount in such a busy area, we must fell the remaining two. This will take place within the next 2 weeks.
They added: “It is understandable if people are concerned about trees being felled but we have make public safety a priority, as in this case. We value trees highly and would not fell a tree unless there is no alternative.”
Councillor Catherine Herbert, portfolio holder for sports, parks and leisure, said: “We are very fortunate to have so many beautiful – and useful – trees not just in our countryside and parks but also our towns and villages. We value these highly.”
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