THE ACTIONS of a determined Scarborough man granted a stay of execution to a condemned beech tree yesterday.
Beginning a day of drama in Main Street, Irton, Mark Snow, of St John’s Road in Falsgrave, climbed the tree at 9.15am and refused to come down, thwarting the efforts of a North Yorkshire County Council team which had been sent to cut it down.
Mr Snow delighted villagers who have battled for six years to preserve the tree by vowing to remain in the branches for “as long as it takes” to save the 55 ft specimen.
The tree has been the subject of a long-running legal battle between villagers, two local authorities and a nearby homeowner, who successfully applied to a judge to have the beech cut down as he claimed its roots were damaging drains and a wall at his home.
The story was first covered by the Evening News in 2005.
David Parker, who has led the drive to save the tree, said: “I am amazed at the way the day has turned out. We’ve got a guy up there with a big smile looking perfectly happy and comfortable with the intention to stay as long as it takes. By this time I thought half of the tree would be down but it’s still here in all of its glory.”
Irton resident Shirley Marshall added: “Any last-ditch attempt is worth it to save something that you really love.”
The county council said at 2.15pm that they were taking no further action for the day and will seek legal advice.
Mr Snow’s actions drew comparisons with activist Swampy, who in 1996 spent a week in underground tunnels in a bid to stop a motorway extension in Devon.
Villagers shouted messages of support throughout the day to Mr Snow, and bought him fish and chips which they sent up to him using a rope at around 5pm.
Irton’s day of tree drama
l 5.30am First villagers arrive at the tree
l 9.05am Police officer cycles past to observe numbers
l 9.14am Police van arrives
l 9.15am Mark Snow, aka Snoz, uses a ladder provided by villager to climb the tree
l 9.26am Road is closed
l 9.40am Council contractors arrive
l 12.40pm Police ask Mr Snow to come down, he refuses to applause from villagers
l 1.10pm Council team leaves, road reopens
l 2.15pm Spokesperson confirms no further action that day