Chestnut tree in Portsmouth to be felled after council ruling

Residents in St Ursula Grove, Southsea, who campaigned to save the sweet chestnut trees
Residents in St Ursula Grove, Southsea, who campaigned to save the sweet chestnut trees
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  • Portsmouth City Council decides sweet chestnut tree can be felled
  • Property’s owner said it had to be done on safety grounds
  • Nearby residents objected to the move
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OBJECTIONS from residents over the fate of an ailing sweet chestnut tree were disregarded by a council planning committee.

The Portsmouth City Council group decided by majority vote that a tree on the border of a property in St Andrew’s Road, Southsea, could be cut down.

There is only one issue here and that is public safety

Jacqui Mair

John Harmer owns the property, which is used as student accommodation.

Mr Harmer told the committee that he had been advised to fell the tree out of fears it could fall and cause damage and injury.

But nearby residents wanted the tree to be managed for the rest of the 10 years experts had given it, and a Facebook group called ‘Save our chestnut trees’ attracted more than 120 members.

Jacqui Mair, who lives in nearby St Ursula Grove, said she was disappointed with the decision. She said she doubted a provision that the tree must be replaced would be honoured.

She said: ‘Now we’re in a situation, probably, where a tree goes and will we get another tree back? Who knows? I feel very disappointed that there was some support in [the committee meeting], but it wasn’t enough.’

Mr Harmer, who also applied to carry out maintenance work on another chestnut tree, said: ‘There is only one issue here and that is public safety. I have a duty of care to maintain the safety of the building.

‘I have maintained the trees for the last 20 years I have owned the property.’

Ms Mair said she believed the tree could be 100 years old, and deserved to be treated with ‘reverence’.