LETTER: Premeditated vandalism

Thank you for your article [Herald, January 13] highlighting the wanton destruction of a beautiful cherry tree in Hellingly churchyard.

The statement from Wealden District Council that the tree was ‘dangerous’ is totally without foundation. As was the assertion that the tree ‘was a danger to people using the churchyard’.

The tree was in an unfrequented part of the churchyard on the north side of the church and a considerable distance from the main entrance used by visitors and parishioners who enter the church by a door on the south side. It posed no danger at all.

I asked two independent tree surgeons to examine the remains of the tree in the days following its destruction. Both confirmed there was no sign of anything likely to pose a danger to the public. It was an entirely healthy tree.

This was wilful premeditated council vandalism and carried out, as the Rev David Farley pointed out, without any consultation.

It was also interesting to note that on the same day you reported the destruction, including photographs of the severed branches, all the logs were rapidly removed by a council contractor. A clear case, in my view, of evidence being removed from the scene of a crime by the guilty party.

CDR ROGER PAINE

Church Path, Hellingly

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