I DO so agree with J Guthrie, that the whole matter of the Irton Beech tree would have been resolved speedily and at a very small fraction of the cost, had good will and common sense been applied at the start of the saga.
I also agree that we should not lie down and roll over in front of unjustified bureaucratic decisions.
But here we diverge. Essentially, unless there’s some hidden aspect on the part of the Hazelwoods, this is a disagreement over damage and inconvenience caused by the tree and the loss of the undoubted enhancement of the village scene by this magnificent 120 to 140 year old specimen (as judged by the Woodland Trust).
Photographs of Main Street last year showing the tree’s dominant and beautifying effect and the street’s stark appearance having airbrushed out the tree shows the great loss to the village’s pleasing village scape should the tree be felled.
The inconveniences to 23 Main Street would all seem to be readily soluble. The drains can be internally relined by a mechanical ‘mole’ requiring minimal surface disturbance. A successful example of this is in the adjacent village of Seamer for a much larger house and front garden. I understand that an offer has been made to do this without charge to the Hazelwoods.
The top of the wall has moved, I would guess only about three or four inches over 120+ years and as little change occurs in such a mature tree, the wall could be expected to survive a decade or more. The tree was there, very visibly, when the Hazelwoods purchased the house and one wonders why they bought it if the tree presented such a problem to it. Surely they had a pre purchase survey?
On the very important matter of road safety, on leaving the property, there are quite a few properties in the village with similar visual problems. So throughout our country’s villages there must be tens if not hundreds of thousands of similar cases. Is the judge going to order the wholesale demolition of trees, walls and roadside houses for the same reason?
The remedy is simple, cautious competent driving. My line of sight is blocked also. I put the nose of my car on the kerb and pause to warn oncoming vehicles. I then slowly advance a foot to warn any unseen approaching vehicles that I wish to drive onto the road and pause again. I then drive slowly out. After 16 years I have had no problem, but I remain cautious.
The Hazelwoods have a great advantage over me. They have a completely clear vision to the left and to the right there is a reasonable gap between the front of the wall and the back of the tree, which gives a clear line of sight of at least forty yards to an oncoming driver’s head. It just requires cautious competent driving.
Scarborough Council has not agreed to the tree’s demolition. Neither did North Yorkshire County Council just two years ago. So why has NYCC changed and why has a County Court Judge ordered the setting aside of a tree preservation order without, to the best of my knowledge, ever visiting the site.
It can thus be seen that the vast expense of legal proceedings cannot be laid solely at the council’s door.
Charles Dickens warned us of the unnecessary recourse to the law about a century and a half ago. Can we not learn?
Philip A Edney