Portchester schoolchildren fight to save ‘nuisance’ trees from the axe

HANDS OFF! Wicor Primary pupils, from left, Isaac Lee, Ella Catford, Elizabeth Harbridge, Jacob Dennet and Toren Hill in front of the trees the want to save. They are holding their paintings of the trees.    Picture: Paul Jacobs (112525-4)
HANDS OFF! Wicor Primary pupils, from left, Isaac Lee, Ella Catford, Elizabeth Harbridge, Jacob Dennet and Toren Hill in front of the trees the want to save. They are holding their paintings of the trees. Picture: Paul Jacobs (112525-4)
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NATURE-LOVING pupils at a primary school are battling a pensioner who wants to get trees that border his property chopped down.

The youngsters from Wicor Primary, Portchester, are pleading for the silver birches to be spared.

NOT HAPPY David Wickwar in his back garden with the trees behind him.    Picture: 'Steve Reid (112544-555)

NOT HAPPY David Wickwar in his back garden with the trees behind him. Picture: 'Steve Reid (112544-555)

Their plea comes after David Wickwar, 67, whose home in Hatherley Crescent is next to the school, launched a court bid to force Hampshire County Council to cut the trees down.

He is suing the council for £5,000 for damage he claims the trees have caused to his property.

He wants eight of the birch trees felled and has asked for a reduction in height of up to 22 more along the 175ft boundary he shares with the school.

Mr Wickwar’s action has prompted the children to launch a ‘save our trees’ petition.

Elizabeth Harbridge, 10, said: ‘There’s a lot of wildlife like birds and insects in our trees and getting rid of them would be terrible.

‘They are an important part of our school life. We draw the trees, watch them change throughout the seasons and shelter underneath them on hot days.’

Ella Catford, 10, added: ‘More than 200 people have already signed our petition because they don’t want our trees to be cut down.’

Toren Hill, 10, described the moment his class was told the trees may have to go.

He said: ‘There were gasps of shock and then silence. We love our trees and will do everything we can to protect them.’

Mr Wickwar said the trees had given him hay fever-like symptoms. He added: ‘The trees are a perpetual nuisance, shedding leaves, seeds which cause allergies, and branches, blocking gutters and drains. They also block light to my living room.

‘It takes a lot of work to clear it all away, which as a pensioner I can’t do.

‘All my requests to the council to trim the trees have been ignored. I don’t have a problem with nature but nature didn’t put those trees there – people did.’

A council spokeswoman said it could not comment because ‘legal proceedings have been issued regarding the trees’. A hearing at Portsmouth County Court has been set for December 6.