Willingness to communicate can keep all sides happy

COMMENT: Let’s make these towers safe as soon as possible

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Of course it goes without saying that no-one wants to see a child get hurt.

But while Ann Hayward is entitled to raise concerns about the tree that borders her home, situations like the one we report on today call for some common sense and a good deal of willingness from all sides to work together.

As a childminder, Mrs Hayward feels that the over-hanging oak poses a danger to the youngsters she is charged with caring for.

Her worry is that a branch might fall off and strike a child playing in her garden.

While we don’t believe that a child should be injured before any avoiding action is taken, it is important that efforts must be made to strike the right balance in this case.

Lopping off branches now might be detrimental to this tree and let’s not forget that it has been standing there for hundreds of years.

Winchester City Council clearly feels that it has a duty to preserve the tree and that’s not a decision that will have been taken lightly or without reason.

Future generations should be able to have this tree to enjoy and so we must all find a way to co-exist.

We need trees. They are safe havens for our wildlife, make our towns and cities more pleasant, produce oxygen and clean the air we breathe.

Children have a right to play safely and that’s why Mrs Hayward was quite correct to take her concerns to the council. We make no criticism of her for caring about the safety of children.

But the council insists it has taken a look and has decided no further action needs to be taken.

We must respect the expertise of the arboriculturist and urge the council to explain its reasons to Mrs Hayward and her neighbours in Denmead if they are still in any doubt.

The council must also ensure that it makes a record of this particular tree and carries out regular inspections to check that it does not pose a risk to people or property in the future.

With good communication and some co-operation, we are sure all parties can be satisfied.

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