Oak tree saved from the chop by ‘eco-warrior of Arun’

Four trees on the Littlehampton Hospital site land in the town centre were chopped down - but Jan Lewis saved the final oak tree, pictured far left. Picture: Jan Lewis
Four trees on the Littlehampton Hospital site land in the town centre were chopped down - but Jan Lewis saved the final oak tree, pictured far left. Picture: Jan Lewis

A tree has been saved from getting the chop after the self-titled ‘eco-warrior of Arun’ stepped in to save it.

Not all heroes wear capes, as Jan Lewis, from The Saltings, Littlehampton, can attest.

She was walking through the hospital site on her way to work at Arun District Council on May 2 when she noticed workers trimming the trees.

After leaving work at 5.15pm the next day, four trees had been chopped down, including a lime oak whose trunk was about two feet thick.

The 61-year-old said: “It is a total waste of trees; it is disgusting.

“They are saying on the TV every five minutes to protect our wildlife. I understand some of the hedges were overgrown, but check to see what is in the trees first rather than just ploughing in and taking no notice of what was in there.”

The next morning, she contacted Arun’s planning department through her work intranet, and an officer was able to put a preservation order on the remaining turkey oak tree, saving it from being felled and the crow’s nest in its branches.

She said: “I am the eco-warrior of Arun at the moment. We have hardly any birds, bees and wildlife, and people are destroying the little we have left.”

Before the work was done, she said the area was teeming with wildlife – but now it has also been cleared of bushes, it looks like a ‘wasteland’ which could encourage people to fly-tip there, she feared.

The site is owned by NHS Property Services. A spokesman said: “It’s our responsibility to look after NHS land.

“We are clearing and tidying this site as it had become overgrown and some trees were potentially unstable.

“Our specialist contractor checked for nests before work started.”