Eastbourne residents protest as ‘magnificent’ 150-year-old tree cut down

Photo by Ginny Sanderson
Photo by Ginny Sanderson

Residents are devastated a ‘magnificent’ 150-year-old tree is being cut down today (Thursday) because it is affecting a car port.

The once-protected copper beech tree in Boyne House, Blackwater Road, is being felled after its roots were found to be compromising the building’s structure.

Residents are devastated  150-year-old tree is being cut down

Residents are devastated 150-year-old tree is being cut down

But residents today protested against its demise, forcing tree surgeons to halt their work.

Jim Sweet, of Boyne House, said, “This is devastating for us.

“It’s a magnificent tree. One of the finest copper beech trees in Eastbourne.

“The wall of the car port was built too close to the existing tree.

Jim Sweet next to the car port

Jim Sweet next to the car port

“The rules seem to be that you can build a wall near a tree but when the tree affects it it’s the tree that has to be cut down.”

He added, “What nonsense is this law that forces a fine tree to be cut down because something was built too close to it?

“It’s not an important wall it’s just a car port!”

Mr Sweet said he had argued that the car port wall, which has to be rebuilt due to becoming unstable, could be moved slightly further from the tree’s roots.

Photo by Ginny Sanderson

Photo by Ginny Sanderson

The majority of Boyne House residents have been fighting against the chop for more than a year but lost the battle when planning permission to fell the old tree was accepted earlier this year.

Mr Sweet said he was told if they remove the offending roots it might destabilise the tree, which until recently had a Tree Preservation Order.

Resident Patsy Wake has been living there for 19 years and seen the tree from her window every day.

She said when she heard the news, “I just wanted to break into tears”.

Photo by Ginny Sanderson

Photo by Ginny Sanderson

While neighbours Clarice and Graeme Wallis are equally upset. Clarice said, “We love this tree, it’s fabulous.

“We were never informed of the appeal and that it had gone through.

“The insurance has forced the hand of the council to take the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) off.

“It makes a laughing stock of TPOs. It should never happen again.”

Now the building’s residents are being forced to pay £4,000 to fell the tree they love.

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Borough Council said, “The council acknowledges the wider value of the tree in the area and understands why local people feel strongly about this matter.

Graeme Wallice, Clarice Wallice, Vanessa Wake and Patsy Wake

Graeme Wallice, Clarice Wallice, Vanessa Wake and Patsy Wake

“However, following a thorough investigation and assessment of all available options, including receiving expert evidence, it was decided that on safety grounds the tree should be removed.

“The decision also requires a replacement tree to be planted.”

The tree has started to be chopped down

The tree has started to be chopped down