Pine tree plans spark village row
A ROW has erupted in a rural village over plans to chop down a group of distinctive pine trees.St Peter's Church, in Sibton, near Peasenhall, is surrounded by five large Scot Pine trees, a scene described by locals as an 'enchanted setting.
A ROW has erupted in a rural village over plans to chop down a group of distinctive pine trees.
St Peter's Church, in Sibton, near Peasenhall, is surrounded by five large Scot Pine trees, a scene described by locals as an 'enchanted setting.'
But this Suffolk idyll may soon be no more as the Parochial Church Council (PCC) wants to pull three of the trees down.
Barnaby Milburn, who lives in the Old Vicarage next to the church, said: “It seems unnecessary to take any of the trees down and I hope something can be done to prevent this needless and misguided damage to a very special place.”
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He said he was taken aback when tree surgeons arrived on Thursday morning to start the felling programme and he never saw any notice that the work was going to be carried out.
His wife, Sophie, and fellow resident Sally Lear also said they were disgruntled by the plans.
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A Suffolk Coastal District Council spokesperson said the trees were not being felled with their blessing and they are urgently writing to the Diocese to express their concerns.
He said: “The four pine trees at the west end of the church are locally distinctive and we were surprised to receive calls that work was underway and we are unhappy that this has happened.
“There appears to have been little or no consultation with the parish council and local people are clearly up in arms, there is no stated disease or danger with any of these trees.”
He said the rooks currently nesting in the pines are a further concern as the birds cannot be disturbed.
Susan Stone, of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “They would have to apply for a licence if rooks were nesting in the trees and it's not something we would advise unless there's an over-riding reason.”
But the PCC said it was necessary to fell the trees for fear they will topple into either the road or church tower.
Churchwarden David Gray said: “It wasn't a decision taken lightly but we're concerned about the building and if they blow down, that would cause more problems.”
He also said if the church was more visible it would be a beacon of the village.
Mr Gray said residents had their chance to object because he put up three notices in the village as instructed by the Diocesan Advisory Council (DAC).
He also denied that rooks were nesting in the trees. Natural England was contacted but the trees are not subject to preservation orders, nor is the churchyard in a conservation area.