Older trees need to be protected from destruction

The lone oak in Selborne Road
The lone oak in Selborne Road

In this column a fortnight ago I asked for any information regarding the felling of mature trees in the area suspecting that some were destroyed without planning permission.

Read Whispering Smith’s previous column regarding the felling of mature trees

My first caller pointed out a planning application for the felling of the lone oak tree in Selborne Road at the back of my house (LU/186/18/TC).

The reason the applicant appears to have given is that its roots are encroaching onto his garage and that it is diseased and needs removing. I believe ownership of the tree was established some time ago and is in fact the responsibility of the council.

My guess is that the tree is well over 100 years old and, like many of us, probably could do with some tender loving care.

Too many mature trees are being legally and illegally rooted out in spite of MPs calling for restraint and, rather than felling, there is a great need for more planting and preservation of the existing stock.

This old oak is the last tree standing in Selborne and should be respected for its longevity thus far and could well have a respectable history. Many such trees were planted as boundary markers or sometimes to designate the centre of a given area.

It is also the popular resting place for a myriad of wildlife. Squirrels and small birds of course, including tits, starlings, sparrows and the occasional goldfinch.

Larger and noisier birds, corvids – mainly crows – my particular favourite – and ring-necked doves. Woodpigeons love it and, on a couple of occasions, a lurking sparrow hawk has been recorded.

Tens of thousands of insects thrive within its leaves, bugs of all kinds including spiders, beetles and caterpillars – all food for birds and bats, functioning parts of our much-battered environment.

I have spoken with some members of the Western Road Residents Association who agree that the tree should be preserved if at all possible and they are willing to help raise the cash for any restoration work and removal of the ivy that is attempting to strangle it, should funds be needed.

However, bottom line is that it will be a council decision through the recommendation of the planning officer and I hope that officer is aware of the feelings of local residents and leave the old oak standing.

It was there long before a garage encroached upon its territory and I dare say it could well be standing there long after we have gone.

Watch this space...

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In the news – trees on Daisyfields site have been saved after council sells land

and a neighbour has made a last-ditch attempt to save 45 Angmering trees.

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There has been a rash of vandalism across the town centre in recent weeks with the smashing of shop windows being in the forefront.

Even the Halifax window was shattered and that is toughened glass and would have taken one huge effort and made a heck of a row.

Question that springs to mind is, does the CCTV by the clock tower actually function and, even if not monitored, does it record activity in the High Street for perusal at a later date. Well, does it? Is it?

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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