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.
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
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”.
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.”
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.
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 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 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 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.