Hailsham Church’s 14th century bell tower is to be saved after plans to remove two trees were given the green light.
Wealden District Council has approved a request by the Diocese of Chichester for a large cedar tree and a birch tree to be removed from the churchyard where their roots are threatening the foundations of St Mary’s Church.
Rev David Bourne, St Mary’s Church’s vicar, said, “The cedar began growing in the churchyard some 80 years ago, and at the time must have been an attractive addition to the churchyard.
“However, as it has grown over the years, its root structure has begun to interfere with the tower’s foundations. Preventative action is unfortunately necessary if we are to avoid damage to Hailsham’s historic church tower. The tree work taking place will result in a new view of the church from the shopping precinct which has not been seen for nearly 100 years.”
The work has been welcomed by local Wealden ward councillors Barry Marlowe and Nick Collinson.
“Both the cedar and the birch are prominent features of the churchyard but a structural survey has indicated the risk to the church and other buildings in the area which cannot be ignored,” said Councillor Barry Marlowe. “Preventative action needs to be taken. St Mary’s is an important part of this historic market town’s heritage. We must not put it in peril.”
The Diocese of Chichester’s request for the tree work was approved by Wealden District Council’s planning committee. The work is expected to begin on April 7 and will involve parts of the churchyard being closed to the public to enable the work to be carried out safely.