Anger as lone tree is cut down after request for a trim

Resident John Bannerman with the stump of a tree which Gosport Council have chopped down in Reeds Place. He asked the council to only trim the tree because it was touching telephone lines.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13316-3)
Resident John Bannerman with the stump of a tree which Gosport Council have chopped down in Reeds Place. He asked the council to only trim the tree because it was touching telephone lines.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (13316-3)
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WHEN John Bannerman saw the branches of a cherry tree touching overhead power lines he called the council to give it a trim.

What the 43-year-old was not expecting was for workers to chop it down and grind it out of existence.

The prunus (cherry) tree at Reeds Place which was removed by Gosport Borough Council.

The prunus (cherry) tree at Reeds Place which was removed by Gosport Borough Council.

But that’s exactly what happened when the council decided it was not worth saving because of fungi.

Mr Bannerman, of Reeds Place said: ‘It was a lovely tree with purple flowers.

‘It was growing into some phone cables and just needed a trim to get out of the cables.

‘I came back and it had been levelled to the ground.

‘Instead of trimming it they’ve cut the whole thing flat. It was the only tree in the street and it wasn’t near houses or anything like that.’

But Dave Stubington, the tree and landscape management officer at Gosport Borough Council’s Streetscene said the tree was not safe and had fungi growing on it.

He said: ‘The initial inquiry related to it growing through the telegraph cables.

‘But on inspection it showed decay and fruiting bodies at the base and it would be inappropriate to retain it.

‘It had over 50 per cent decay at the base plus the fruiting bodies.

‘The fungi at the base would have been a liability if we’d have left it.’

A replacement tree will now be considered in the 2013 to 2014 planting season.

Mr Bannerman said the tree was admired in the street.

‘A couple of the neighbours were walking past a few weeks ago and I was looking out my door,’ he said.

‘A man was walking past with his mum and I was staring at the tree and said it seemed to be blowing into the overhead cables. They liked the tree.

‘There are a lot of oldies in the street who did.’

Chairman of the council’s community and environment board councillor Graham Burgess said he backed Mr Stubington’s action and that a replacement will be considered in due course.

He said: ‘It’s being considered, the diseased one has been taken down and we’re looking at putting a replacement in.’