Compromise is key, even when it’s a loved tree

BLAISE TAPP: 'Tis the season to be more giving to the lonely

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People care about trees. They care about them a lot.

And never more obviously is that point made than in the picture on page nine of The News today.

This particular row centres around an old willow tree in Gosport.

On the one side are the people who want to save the tree.

They say it has stood there outside Holbrook Leisure Centre for the past 30 years and more and should be saved.

They say it’s brought pleasure to them and is inextricably linked with good memories.

But on the other side is the developer.

It has won planning permission to demolish the old leisure centre and replace it with a shiny new one, including a hotel and restaurant.

And to back that up, there’s a condition on the new development about replacing and compensating for the loss of any trees.

But of course this is scant consolation to Loraine Smith and other protesters who care about the area where they live.

She has watched this willow grow from a sapling to how it is today and would be very sad to see it go.

Meanwhile Gosport Borough Council says the tree is of ‘low value’ and has a ‘distorted shape’.

We’re sure that people will have sympathy with those on both sides of this argument.

The protesters say they will fight to the end to protect something they love.

The developer says it will replace it with something new and, possibly better. And there’s the rub.

Sometimes with development comes compromise.

The new leisure centre and other facilities will be good for the town and should be supported.

The sooner it’s done the better. But the cost comes, in this case, in the form of this symbolic willow.

While we support the protesters in their fight and applaud them for taking a stand, sometimes it’s a case of looking at what serves the greater good.

And in this case, some will feel that the boost the new development will bring to the community comes out on top.