THERE’s a glimmer of hope for one of Datchet’s oldest trees as it is given a lifeline to save it from being chopped down.
Locals have set up an online campaign group on Facebook, urging the Royal Borough to revoke their decision to allow the Wellingtonia tree in Southlea Road to be cut down despite it having a tree protection order.
The group are called ‘Save Datchet Tree’ and has, so far, accumulated 52 members.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service reported engineers justified the removal of the 170-year-old tree as the roots were causing cracks and fractures to the nearby three-bed property’s kitchen and external left-hand flank wall.
Planning officers sided with the engineer’s survey, adding if they did not approve the removal, the council would be ‘liable’ to a compensation claim of around £188,000.
The report states the two-storey detached home is due to be sold off.
Since officers gave the application the go-ahead, ward and parish councillors as well as residents vehemently opposed the plans and urged officers to rethink their judgement.
The campaign group have urged their followers and Datchet residents to write to the tree department, the head of planning, and the managing director of the council to demand the grand old tree to be saved.
According to their Facebook page, protesters have until May 26 to voice their objections.
They wrote: “The tree may be implicated in subsidence issues that affect a neighbouring building; however, a tree expert has provided different remedies that could stabilise the building and preserve the tree.
“Astonishingly these recommendations have been ignored and it would appear a cost-driven decision has been made that impacts Datchet’s Heritage and the Conservation Area in which the tree stands.
“It is within RBWM’s [Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead] power to save this tree. We can ask them to revoke their decision to allow the tree to be felled and pursue other options.”
Direct Line Insurance commissioned the engineer’s report and application, and campaigners are emailing the CEO, Penny James, to withdraw their plans and keep to their carbon neutral commitment.
In an email sent to a resident, Penny James wrote: “I have asked my team to look into this matter and we will get back to you as soon as possible.”