NO REPRIEVE FOR AUGUSTA ROAD’S HORSE-CHESTNUT

A large wedge is cut out of the base of the horse-chestnut tree's trunk before the tree is pulled to the ground

A large wedge is cut out of the base of the horse-chestnut tree’s trunk before the tree is pulled to the ground – but it didn’t go down without a fight.

A year-long battle to save a classic horse-chestnut tree in Penarth’s Augusta Road ended this morning when the tree was finally felled by axemen working for the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

The tree stood immediately outside No 13 Augusta Road – a house which has recently had a new paved frontage installed.

The August Road horse-chestnut was thriving and healthy until the Vale of Glamorgan Council "pollarded" it.

The Augusta Road horse-chestnut tree was thriving and healthy until the Vale of Glamorgan Council decided – without any public consultation – to  “pollard” it. Protestors tied blue symbolic ribbons around it and sent a 35 signature petition to the Labour-controlled council

In July last year the tree had been severely “pollarded” by contractors working for the Vale of Glamorgan Council who had removed all its branches

A 35 signature petition has been sent to the Labour-controlled Vale Council and tied to the trunk with blue ribbons

A 35 signature petition has been sent to the Labour-controlled Vale Council and tied to the trunk with blue ribbons

Local people were so incensed they banded together to protest. Thirty-five neighbours signed a protest petition and sent it to “the Leader, Cabinet and Councillors of the Vale of Glamorgan”

The petition statement read :- “We the undersigned, protest and complain of the proposed felling – with neither Notice nor explanation – of the healthy and beautiful chestnut tree near No. 13 Augusta Road. We request that the felling process be cancelled and the tree protected along with the habitat, visual and environmental amenity it so naturally provides”.

Save our Penarth Trees Campaign made a last -minute plea yesterday to save the horse-chestbut. It fell on deaf ears

Save our Penarth Trees Campaign made a last-minute plea yesterday to save the horse-chestnut. It fell on deaf ears

Yesterday, a last-minute plea for a “stay of execution” had been made by the “Save Our Penarth Trees” campaign which is trying to stop the Labour-controlled Vale Council from progressively destroying the environment of Penarth .

The campaign says “the Vale Council broke its promise to speak to the Penarth Civic Society and Penarth Town Council about this and other tree felling. It says  “There should be no further felling while the  implementation of a Tree Management Strategy is currently under review.”

Miles Punter Head of Visible Services for the Vale of Glamorgan Council

Miles Punter Director of the Environment for the Vale of Glamorgan Council

It quotes Miles Punter, Director of the Environment for the Vale Council  as saying that the horse-chestnut tree had been given “extensive consideration and the authority must act now.Any attempt to retain the tree would be impractical in terms of the maintenance required and the remaining liability for property damage that would rest with the public purse.

Mr Punter is quoted as having said   “The Vale council would be very happy to replant a suitable tree at this location but would require additional funding’ ”   

However other Vale Council sources say the Labour-controlled Vale Council has a policy of not replacing pavement or “highway trees” and it has yet to come to any  agreement with Penarth Civic Society on the management of highway trees in the town.

With the remains of its branches removed a noose is placed around the head of the horse-chestnut's trunk - attached to a wire cable

With the remains of its branches removed, a noose is placed around the neck of the horse-chestnut’s trunk – attached to a wire cable. A bed of logs is laid where the tree is to fall,

Today’s felling was carried out at 08:00 am by Vale Council contractors who said they did not want to be photographed. Two Vale of Glamorgan Council officials  were at the scene to supervise and direct traffic.

The stumps of the tree branches – which had begun to sprout leaves again – were sawn off first.  Then a wire cable was attached to the top of the trunk and attached to a tractor.

A large wedge was out of the base of the trunk to weaken it

A large wedge was cut out of the base of the trunk to weaken it

A saw-operator cut a large wedge out of the base of the tree to weaken it and the cable was pulled taut . Even though weakened , the tree withstood the pull of the cable as it was winched tighter.

The weakened tree continues to withstand the pull of the wire cable - more cuts have to be made until therer is a crack like a breaking bone

The weakened tree continues to withstand the pull of the wire cable – more cuts have to be made and more pull is applied until there is a crack like a breaking bone

The saw operator had to make several more cuts in the opposite side of the trunk but still the tree resisted the winch’s attempts to pull it over. More cuts were made in the trunk until eventually a cracking sound was heard

The lifeless trunk of the horse-chesnut collapses onto a bed of logs.

The lifeless trunk of the horse-chestnut collapses onto a bed of logs.

The trunk – by this time almost entirely cut through –  slowly and majestically toppled to the ground where a raft of logs had been set out to absorb the impact.

The Augusta Road horse-chestnut has yielded its last conker – and today Penarth has lost another tree.

 

 

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Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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18 Responses to NO REPRIEVE FOR AUGUSTA ROAD’S HORSE-CHESTNUT

  1. Andrew sarchus says:

    Wasn’t there a report commissioned by a local resident stating the tree was perfectly healthy? I cant help think the VOG has a plan to reduce Penarth to the level of Barry. Jealous meddling Philistines. Better when they are scrapped.

  2. anne says:

    Not only do our politicians not listen – they are vindictive. The silence from the town council on this has been deafening. This war on trees has got to stop. The campaign to save Penarth trees continues and the demand for a replacement tree starts today.

  3. cathy says:

    Gosh the tree cutters at the VOG must be the only people definitely assured of their jobs!

  4. Fishhenge says:

    This is better than the Discovery Channel!

  5. I love trees but .... says:

    The independent report prepared by Mr James Fuller FdSc.Arb, NatDipArb, Tech.Arb.A of CAB Trees, which was funded by council tax payers, concluded that if the tree was retained ‘it would require continued pollarding works’. The independent arboricultural expert reported that this meant that there is ‘potential that the tree will decline’ and that it would have ‘limited future amenity value’.

    Interestingly, it became clear today that tree was, in fact, diseased and ‘terminally ill’. The stump, which can be inspected in Augusta Road, has a large hole at the centre surrounded by a discoloured area which indicates that the tree was rotting from the inside out. So it would have had to be removed in any case.

  6. Meg's Dad says:

    So the tree was hollow? Trees can stand and grow perfectly happily even with hollow trunks. Ever seen an ancient Oak? Maybe you’ve stood inside one!
    The pollarding would have removed any significant risk, you can see how much effort and force was required to fell it.

  7. Meg's Dad says:

    ….. but the real crime is that the tree won’t be replaced, in situ.
    VoG council is not fit for purpose and the sooner they are scrubbed from the political landscape, through the proposed local authority realignment, the better.

    • anne says:

      Agree with that!

      • I love trees but ..... says:

        But it’s not true. The council said that it WILL replace the tree once the money for the structure to keep the roots under control is raised privately. If the people of Penarth care so much about pavement trees as you say I’m sure they will donate.

        PS – Have you looked at the stump? Doesn’t look healthy to me.

  8. Andrew sarchus says:

    I have a sneaking feeling Lovetree you are a club member. So what you’re saying is the tree was terminally diseased- couldn’t be saved, had to come down now and not in 10 – 20 years and wont be replaced unless Penarth TAX PAYING residents pay for some root control system. Follow that through and Penarth will have NO trees at all one day. Here s thought- you know one of those fellows of yours on £100,000 + and cant work out a meals in wheels budget? Sack them and start up a tree replacement fund. That’s far better for the community. Yes I think you’re a club member and probably a jealous Barry resident to boot.

  9. I love trees but ..... says:

    Andrew – You need to work harder on your sneaking feelings. I don’t work for the council and I don’t live in Barry. And, by the way, there is definitely a Lady Fiona xx

  10. Andrew sarchus says:

    Well who you are then- what’s your credentials? I said club member- its a big club and you’re assuming, a habit? and I doubt a Penarthian. If you are you should be ashamed with this attitude- feelings ay! Now lets see how factual you really are. There may be a lady Fiona- but she doesn’t live in Augusta Road. There is a Lady Jones residing in Augusta Rd. Wife of Perm Sec Sir Derek Jones. That’s if you recognise a promotion in the civil service warrants such a title.

    • I love trees but ..... says:

      Since you ask, I’m a private citizen living in Penarth who likes trees and has no connection to the council or any other part of government. Does that help?

  11. Meg's Dad says:

    Ludicrous attitude, ILoveTreesBut. Can we assume you’d be happy to pay to fill in pot holes in your street, or to hand over a tenner to the binmen.
    You seem to be lacking even a basic understanding of the concept of society and taxation.

  12. I love trees but ..... says:

    I understand enough about society and tax to know the difference between statutory services (like refuse collection and road maintenance) that councils must provide by law and are paid for by council tax and discretionary services (like parks, leisure centres, arts and entertainment, and pavement trees in posh streets) which councils don’t have to provide and can charge for.

  13. Peter Church says:

    I love trees too. I burn the wood.
    The sight of all those logs has me salivating!
    Does anyone know where the next one for the chop will be? if so tell me and I’ll get my wheel barrow.

  14. Meg's Dad says:

    Ah, so it’s a class issue.

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