Landowner pledges not to fell 150-year-old oak tree

An Elmswell landowner has said there is no intention to chop down a treasured oak tree in the village while organisers are planning a protest march on Sunday in a bid to protect the tree.

Peter Over, who owns the land where the tree is situated said today (Thursday, December 10) that he does not want it removed and is liaising with Mid Suffolk District Council to issue a tree preservation order on the oak.

He has had meetings with the council and Suffolk Village Info understands that the decision to preserve the tree had been taken prior to plans for the march through the village following a meeting on November 12.

Mr Over said: “I actually like the tree and certainly do not want it removed.”

And he added: “I cannot stop people gathering on Sunday, however, I would like them to be informed of the full facts.”

James Bailey, who acts as Mr Over’s agent, said there was to be no road widening carried out in the area next to the tree and that the intention is to retain it.

And he added: “I can also confirm that both the landowner and the district council are currently discussing the possibility of issuing a TPO on the tree. This is not something the landowner is being forced into but something they are entering into willingly.”

One villager said: “It appears that a lot of planning and effort has been put together for a protest that was not actually required.”

However, the march is currently still set to go ahead and comes after 201 people signed a petition on the district council’s website to save the tree.

Protestors claim the oak is under threat of being felled to make way for a cycle path for a new development planned in the village.

They say that it has “stood in its prominent position for at least 150 years and is an impressive and much-loved landmark in the village. Its age, historical significance and ecological value mean that it must be saved and should not fall victim to any road-widening scheme undertaken because of a nearby housing development.”

A spokesperson for the organisers of the march, which is to start from the Blackbourne Community Centre at 9.45am, said final details have been made for the event.

They are hoping to have a Samba Band join the marchers and have asked people to prepare a banner, placard and/or decoration (biodegradable please) to hang on the oak tree.

They also asked people to wear high-vis jackets if they have them so they are “nice and visible to road users.”

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