D-Day for tree?

The beech tree in Irton  113759d
The beech tree in Irton 113759d

THE future of a 100-year-old beech was thrown into uncertainty after a planning application to chop it down was withdrawn at the 11th hour.

The 55ft tree, in Main Street in Irton, is due to be felled this week with a four-day road closure in force from tomorrow.

The planning application to chop it down was submitted to Scarborough Council by North Yorkshire County Council.

Officers had recommended that, despite a tree preservation order being in place since 2007, the borough council’s permission was not required to cut down the tree following a county court decision which ruled in favour of its removal.

Cllr Jane Mortimer, the chairman of Scarborough Council’s planning and development committee, told fellow councillors and members of the public that the application had been withdrawn and would no longer be discussed.

When the Evening News contacted the county council a spokesman said that he was unable to comment on the issue.

But Cllr Colin Challen said that he was sure work on cutting the tree down would start today but hoped that it could have been saved.

He said: “I do oppose felling the tree. I’d still prefer to see this tree saved. There was differing evidence about the damage caused – there was different experts saying different things.

“The tree has now reached its maturity. It is 100-years-old and it’s not going to grow any more.”

North Yorkshire County Council’s legal costs totalled £250,000 and the judge who resolved the six-year debate branded it a “public nuisance” and ordered it to be felled.

Cllr Challen said Scarborough Council could facing a similar legal bill.

He added: “Both councils want to get out of this situation as soon as possible. I think the borough council was right to put the tree preservation order on it. This is very worrying for future consideration of tree preservation orders.”

Residents who live close to the tree had brought legal proceedings asking for the tree to be cut down as its roots were their damaging property.

But villagers launched a campaign to try and save the tree, saying its removal would harm the character of the village.