Tree fight to continue

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect a historic tree in a Scarborough village have rejected new plans to cut it down.

Irton residents have vowed to protect a 100-year-old beech tree after county council proposals were launched to fell it.

The tree, in Main Street, has become the subject of a legal wrangle after owners of a property next to it called for its removal on road safety grounds and fears over root damage to drains.

However, Irton Parish Council’s planning committee threw out a new application from North Yorkshire County Council to chop down the tree, which is registered with the Woodland Trust and guarded by a Tree Preservation Order.

The parish council will now contest the matter at a meeting with Scarborough Council chiefs later this year.

David Parker, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to save the tree, said it gave the village a unique character.

He said more than 200 villagers had signed a petition calling for its retention.

He said: “It gives aesthetic and environmental benefits by making Irton a pleasant, safe, and healthier place to live and benefits the eco-system.

“This tree is a beautiful specimen which, once removed, could never be replaced. To consider the felling of this magnificent tree would be disastrous for the many people of Irton that have petitioned for its keeping.”

Scarborough Council last year refused an application to fell the tree, valued at £75,000 – on the grounds that it offered “immense amenity value”, adding its loss would “result in serious harm to the character and appearance of the village and result in the loss of an important local feature”.

However, a report submitted by North Yorkshire County Council states the tree must go on the grounds it is causing a nuisance.

Bosses have also offered a smaller replacement tree.

The report added: “The tree is causing damage to drains by root infiltration, damage to a boundary wall, damage to block paving and impeding vehicular access and restricting visibility.

“Evidence is that the tree felling is necessary to abate or prevent the nuisance.”

However, Richard Harrison, chairman of Irton parish council, said: “There is nothing wrong with the tree at all and it is good for another 40 or 50 years. People have lived there before for numerous generations and it has never been a problem.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council said: “The council is attempting to resolve the issue surrounding the tree at Irton. In view of the fact that there are some outstanding legal proceedings involved, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.”

The Evening News previously attempted to contact property owners Mr and Mrs Hazelwood who were not prepared to comment due to pending legal action.