Hadleigh: Contractor chopped wrong tree down in town centre

The tree which stood in Hadleigh market place as a focal point...until it was cut down accidentally

The tree which stood in Hadleigh market place as a focal point...until it was cut down accidentally - Credit: Archant

A BUNGLING contract worker has left a town’s market square looking decidedly bare after chopping down a much-loved tree – by mistake.

The sycamore tree in Hadleigh market place before it was cut down

The sycamore tree in Hadleigh market place before it was cut down - Credit: Archant

The sycamore, which has stood in the centre of Market Place in Hadleigh for more than 20 years, was surrounded by benches and was a popular spot for shoppers seeking shade in the summer.

The space where the tree used to be at Market Place Hadleigh.

The space where the tree used to be at Market Place Hadleigh. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

But yesterday morning, much to the horror of local traders and councillors, the tree was removed by a Babergh District Council contracted tree specialist, who was supposed to have cut down one of three smaller trees close to a wall in the same area.

Last night the local authority said the contractor had apologised for the error and had pledged to replace the tree. But Jane Haylock from The Idler bookshop on High Street said: “The town council received a lengthy list of doomed trees, which we queried because the sycamore in the centre of the Market Place was a lovely tree, providing a feature to an otherwise bland area.

“We were informed that the tree referred to was one of three at the back of the Market Place so we breathed a sigh of relief.


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“Then this morning I heard a chainsaw, went outside to look and was aghast to see the sycamore had already been cut down and the three scraggly trees – which are a different variety – remained in place.

“It doesn’t look good if a tree specialist can’t identify the right variety.”

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Town clerk Carol Bailey said she was shocked to be confronted by the empty space where the tree had stood.

She added: “We are extremely disappointed to know that the wrong tree has been chopped down.

“We are aware that Babergh has said a new tree will be put in there, but we have already received many calls from people asking why this one has been cut down.”

The Babergh spokesman said the tree felling in Hadleigh was part of a planned work programme.

The authority had a duty of care to maintain its tree stock in a safe and healthy condition, he added, which was achieved by regular tree inspections and pro-active tree surgery.

He added: “Despite providing the tree contractor with location plans, he regrettably mistakenly felled the wrong tree in Market Place.

“The contractor had undertaken pruning works to this tree in the past, and as this was the only tree visible to him in the area, he wrongly thought that this was the tree that was to be felled.

“This is a genuine error on behalf of the contractor who is apologetic for his actions.

“He will be required to remove the stump of the felled tree and supply and plant a suitable replacement specimen at his own expense.”

The tree that should have been removed will be felled shortly.

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