March takes place in bid to preserve oak tree in Elmswell

Dozens of people turned out on Sunday for a march to help preserve a much-treasured oak tree in Elmswell.

Last week landowner Peter Over pledged not to chop down the 150-year-old tree but protestors were still out on the street to highlight their concerns.

They marched from the Blackbourne Community Centre at 9.45am to the tree in School Lane as they are concerned that it will be taken down to make way for a cycle path as part of plans for a new development.

Organisers hope to raise awareness among locals about the threat to the iconic landmark and to show the strength of feeling about the precious tree.

Alan Thompson, who is an Elmswell resident, said: “One could go around a tree whether walking or cycling, better still, get the developers to move the tree after all Ballingdon Hall was moved on rollers. That’s 40 years or so ago, come on Mid Suffolk stand your ground. Think of the villagers.”

Rachel Barber, also from Elmswell: added: “Some people will say it’s just a tree, what does it matter? But it’s more than just a tree, it’s a whole eco-system and why do we as humans get to decide that it should end? It is possible for us to protect the environment, we just need developers to stop taking the easy, cheap route and put nature first.”

A group of about 40 people turned out to campaign to ensure the oak tree does not fall to the developer’s axe. A samba band played as they marched to the tree, then everyone gathered in socially distanced family groups to hear the speeches.

Included were district councillors for the village Helen Geake and Sarah Mansel as well as councillor Andy Mellen, the Green Party’s candidate to represent Elmswell on the county council.

Also in support were councillors Wendy Turner and John Matthissen, who were involved in the Save Thurston Oaks campaign earlier this year.

Helen Geake confirmed the likelihood that the tree would now be saved and protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), while the cycle path will be diverted into the field while Andy Mellen emphasised the value of the tree which constitutes an entire ecosystem built up over its 150 plus years of life so far.

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