Thu, 26 Nov 2020
Residents are battling to save a 250-year-old oak tree after it was earmarked for felling by the borough council.
The Tadley tree, which stands on New Road, is being blamed for subsidence to houses nearby, with one extension reportedly coming completely away from the rest of the house as the ground below it sinks.
But campaigners have launched a petition to save the tree and are calling on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) to release more details on the problem and what else could be done to remedy it.
Carol Monaghan, who started the petition after she saw a consultation notice on the Tadley Town Council Facebook page, said she felt the whole issue was “mired in mystery” after all of her attempts to contact BDBC were unsuccessful.
“It is quite a local landmark,” she said. “There are so many birds, bats, stag beetles and other wildlife living in it too.”
The group has now had the tree listed as a ‘significant tree’ with The Woodland Trust and is currently applying for an emergency tree preservation order (TPO) on the old oak, which could be up to 300 years old according to reports.
Tadley Town Council chair Jo Page said councillors supported the views of parishioners and the felling was “not a done deal yet”.
In a further twist to the tale, she said the owner of one of the affected homes has told another newspaper that he has not asked the borough council to remove the tree, despite the cracks that are appearing in his house.
“In Tadley we are lucky to have several lovely trees that have managed to stay put as houses were built,” she added. “As a council we would definitely not want to lose the tree.
“Tadley is a rural area and we want to keep it like that.
“It is a magnificent tree and we are hoping they [BDBC] an do something that means we can keep it.
“There has been a tremendous response from the people of Tadley and we will support our residents all the way, but the actual decision lies with Basingstoke and Deane.”
She said that installing a root barrier, which would cost in the region of £70,000, was discussed in the past, but was never carried out, and that she has had no indication from BDBC when a decision on the fate of the oak will be made.
BDBC head of environmental services Tom Payne told the Newbury Weekly News that the borough council’s primary objective was to “protect, maintain and enable the [80,000] trees on our land to flourish”.
“We must also consider additional factors, including any detrimental impacts on others while carrying out our role,” he said.
“This oak tree in New Road is a mature tree and we fully appreciate its significance, which is why we have been keen to hear all views relating to how we resolve the issue of the impact on neighbouring properties.
“We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond.
“We are working through the responses and will provide an update in due course.”