150-year-old trees felled to save St Chad’s Church wall in Poulton

Trees which are more than a century old have been felled at a Poulton church over safety concerns that a brick wall may collapse.

Thursday, 4th April 2019, 11:31 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 1:14 pm
The site of one of the sycamores which has been cut down

The three sycamore trees at St Chad’s Church in Poulton, believed to be around 150 years old, were cut down last week by Wyre Council because of concerns a wall surrounding the graveyard could fall down.

A number of small holly and young beech trees were also removed from the graveyard despite the RSPB recommending not cutting hedges and trees between March and August as this is the main breeding season for nesting birds.

Reverend Martin Keighley of St Chad’s Church said he was told it was vital for the trees to come down. He added: “We worked out the trees were roughly around 150 years old.”

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Rev Martin Keighley

Wyre Council let residents and businesses know on March 19 that the trees would be felled at the end of the month.

A Wyre Council spokesman said: “In order to complete repair works to the church wall, we will need to dig into the bank where the tree roots lay.

“The extent of roots that would have been needed to be removed in order to access and repair the wall would likely mean that the trees would have died.”

There is currently no date planned for the wall repair works to begin but the council said the trees were removed in advance in order to avoid the bird nesting season.”

When The Gazette approached the council about bird nesting season starting in February a spokesman said: “All trees were checked for the presence of birds and none were found.”

“Suitable replacement tree planting will take place in the first tree planting season after completion of the wall repair works. The tree-planting season runs from mid-November to late March.”

John Bailie, who has campaigned on several issues in the town said it was sad to hear the trees had been felled.

He said: “I’m a great advocate for preservation of our trees but I do understand that as a last possible resort if trees are unsafe they need to come down and I know there has been some concerns expressed about the wall facing the ginnel and the amount of earth behind it.

“However as it’s the only green part of Poulton town centre left and a conservation area I think a little more forward awareness would have been helpful.

“It’s also concerning that they think the best nesting season has yet to begin. Nesting season starts in February so they shouldn’t have been touched really.”

The cut down trees also attracted a lot of attention on social media.

Terry Robinson said: “Hopefully one day people are going to realise that the trees were more important than the wall.

“The planet’s dying bit by bit and we are still not grasping the seriousness of the situation we are in.”

Lindsay Mason added: “I do agree about trees being more important than walls.

“However, this one was a safety issue as the wall had become dangerous.

“I don’t think there was any other option really but I am as distressed by losing the trees.”

Nikki Ferguson said: “Lets erode everything that made the character of Poulton.

“Bad enough all the new houses everywhere.”