Will tree finally be axed or spared?

Charles Betty with the horse chestnut tree in Throxenby Lane. Photo by Dave Barry 113039a
Charles Betty with the horse chestnut tree in Throxenby Lane. Photo by Dave Barry 113039a

IT is hoped that a 150-year-old tree will be spared the chop.

Last week, Throxenby Lane resident Charles Betty stopped Scarborough Council workers, who had been sent to fell a horse chestnut tree outside his home, with an impromptu protest.

He stood underneath the tree and informed the workers he would not be moving until they left.

Later that day, Scarborough Council confirmed that they would seek further talks with the owners of the tree, North Yorkshire County Council, before cutting it down due to concerns over falling conkers and branches.

Now, after Mr Betty enlisted the support of residents and several local councillors, it has been agreed that the tree will not be cut down in the immediate future and hopes are high that a compromise can be reached which will see the tree remain.

“It sounds quite promising,” said Mr Betty yesterday. “I’ve had lots of support from people. Everyone seems to want to keep the tree.

“To cut it down over a few falling chestnuts would be a nonsense.”

Nick West, the county council’s area manager for highways and transportation, has said he was “confident” that the tree would be retained.

Later this month a meeting will be arranged when the future of the tree will be discussed.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, who represents the Newby division on the county council and holds the portfolio for highways, transport and the environment on Scarborough Council, intervened in the issue during his holiday in Fuerteventura.

Speaking to the Evening News yesterday from the island, he said he had been assured that no further action would be taken until he returns to the UK.

He added: “I’m picking up my emails and I have been in touch with County Hall.

“When I get back we will have a site visit, but it sounds ridiculous.

“I do not know the full story but from residents’ emails and the county council it appears that the decision to cut the tree down was based on the potential for insurance claims.

“Those trees have 100-plus years of life left in them. If there needs to be pruning and crowning I wouldn’t necessarily be against that but I will resist the felling and the destruction of the street scene at every quarter.”

Cllr Andrew Jenkinson, who represents the Newby ward on Scarborough Council, has also backed Mr Betty’s stance and believes that the tree should stay.

He said that cutting down the healthy tree would amount to an act of vandalism.

Cllr Jenkinson added: “I have spoken to a number of councillors and we all agree that it would be appalling. It is a cross-party thing.

“I am not an eco-warrior in any shape or form but the tree is beautiful and I will fight for it.

“If it was kids damaging our trees there would be hell on. Why should the council get away with it?”