Stop the chop!

Charles Betty with the horse chestnut which the council want rid of, in Throxenby Lane. Photo by Dave Barry 113039b

Charles Betty with the horse chestnut which the council want rid of, in Throxenby Lane. Photo by Dave Barry 113039b

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A SCARBOROUGH resident’s one-man stand has saved a 150-year-old tree.

Scarborough Council workers turned up without warning yesterday to Throxenby Lane, near the entrance to Raincliffe School, and told Charles Betty they had been sent to fell the horse chestnut tree opposite his home.

The top end of Throxenby Lane. The horse chestnut which the council want rid of is left of centre. Photo by Dave Barry 113039c

The top end of Throxenby Lane. The horse chestnut which the council want rid of is left of centre. Photo by Dave Barry 113039c

Mr Betty made the workers a cup of tea before standing underneath the tree, and told them he would not move until they left.

After making phone calls to bosses and informing them of Mr Betty’s stance, the workers were called away, leaving the tree untouched.

By yesterday afternoon, the council had confirmed that in light of Mr Betty’s impromptu protest, they would not cut the tree down in the immediate future and would seek further discussions with its owners, North Yorkshire County Council.

“I just told them I wasn’t moving, and if they still wanted to bring it down they could go ahead,” said Mr Betty. “It’s a nice day and I was enjoying the view.

“I would have liked the chance to make my objections in a more formal manner, but the council did not have the common courtesy to tell anyone about this.

“I think it’s quite a result that they left.

“It will give me a chance to investigate this and to find out what the other residents’ views are.

“If the workers hadn’t have knocked on my door at 8am and asked me to move my car the tree would be gone.”

Throxenby Lane is affectionately known locally as Conker Lane, where youngsters go every autumn to collect conkers which fall from the many horse chestnut trees.

Mr Betty, a retired wine importer and former landlord of Shades Wine Bar, now Soba, in South Cliff, said he feared that if the council had succeeded in chopping down the tree, more could have followed.

“The tree is entirely healthy,” added Mr Betty, who has lived in Throxenby Lane since 1992. “If it was dying or dangerous I could understand it, but it’s no different to any of the others in the street.

“This is a pleasant street with its own history – kids in this town have been calling it Conker Lane or Conker Alley for generations.

“I was shocked this morning to hear it was coming down. It’s an essential part of the street.

“This destruction of healthy trees has been going on all over the borough. There must be more environmentally friendly ways of sorting these things out.”

Andy Skelton, the council’s head of environmental services, said: “Our tree gang was carrying out work on behalf of the owners of the tree, North Yorkshire County Council, in response to complaints that have been received about it.

“In view of the good natured but firm opposition of local people to the proposed work, we will not be carrying out any work until we have had the opportunity to discuss the matter with officers at the county council who will no doubt take into account the views of residents.”