Final protest as tree decision due

Irton residents gather near a tree on the village Main Street, to protest against it being cut down by the householder whose property it is outside.  Pictures by Andrew Higgins  113423a   24/08/11
Irton residents gather near a tree on the village Main Street, to protest against it being cut down by the householder whose property it is outside. Pictures by Andrew Higgins 113423a 24/08/11

RESIDENTS in a Scarborough village have launched a campaign to save a 100-year-old tree from the axe.

The towering beech tree, in Main Street, Irton, will be felled if a county court judge rules it is a significant safety hazard.

A decision is expected tomorrow, with residents yesterday staging a peaceful final protest.

The tree, which is registered with the Woodland Trust and guarded by a Tree Preservation Order, has been the subject of a six-year legal wrangle after owners of a neighbouring property requested its removal on road safety grounds and fears over root damage to drains.

However, Irton Parish Council rejected an application from North Yorkshire County Council to chop down. Scarborough Council also refused an application to fell the tree – valued at £75,000 – on the grounds it offered “amenity value, adding its loss would “result in serious harm to the character of the village.”

Resident David Parker said losing the beech would be a bitter blow and said he did not want to see the tree become another statistic on a list which showed around 500 healthy specimens have been felled in the Scarborough area during the last five years.

He said: “We have got more than 200 signatures on a petition who state they don’t want to see the tree be removed.

“It has the backing of Scarborough Council, the tree officer and the North Yorkshire Moors Committee as well as the Woodland Trust. Everyone we speak to is of the same opinion – there are different solutions to this situation.

“There have been a lot of people who have put a great deal of effort in to save this tree and have done so in an honourable way.”

The Evening News has previously attempted to contact the property owners and North Yorkshire County Council who said they were not prepared to comment due to the pending legal action.