Oak tree causes a mighty row

By Kate MaxwellTHE fate of a mighty oak tree has caused a row between a landowner and a council.The mature tree stands on the boundary of a private garden and a field belonging to the Henham estate, near Southwold.

By Kate Maxwell

THE fate of a mighty oak tree has caused a row between a landowner and a council.

The mature tree stands on the boundary of a private garden and a field belonging to the Henham estate, near Southwold.

But it has become the root of a problem after the owner of the garden in Elm Lane, Wangford, asked for it to be trimmed.

However, Henham Rous, son of the “Aussie earl” Keith Rous, and his estate manager Shaun O'Neill decided they would rather chop the tree down.

Waveney District Council's landscape adviser Fiona McKeown was then called in to inspect the offending tree.

Most Read

She rejected the estate's claim it was unsafe or that pruning would kill it, and has asked for a tree preservation order to be placed on the oak - along with three more trees that complete the boundary line.

“These boundary oaks are a familiar sight around the county and contribute greatly to the landscape,” she said.

“This line is probably something between 100 to 200 years old and is clearly visible from the A12. The trees only become dangerous because of poor management.

“If you are a landlord, you have a duty to manage your land responsibly and part of that duty includes keeping the trees healthy and safe. If landlords could fell any tree they felt like, we wouldn't have any trees left.”

She said after examining the tree, she felt felling it would be “excessive management”.

The Henham Estate has lodged an appeal against the order and requested if permission was refused, the owners of the adjoining garden and house should move their shed and garage and the bedroom nearest the tree should be used for “infrequent use” to reduce the safety hazard.

However, council officers do not believe the estate could request such a condition and have recommended its rural area development control committee confirmed the preservation order without modification and carried out remedial pruning work by a qualified tree surgeon.

Henham Rous said yesterday he would prefer not to comment until “after the hearing” on April 2.

kate.maxwell@eadt.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter