Residents fail to save 120-year-old 'majestic' pine tree in West Wimbledon
Residents Nicole McIntyre, Angela Stanley, George Master and Dianne Freisinger with the remains of the tree.
A 120-year-old black pine tree has been chopped down in what some residents have called an "appalling decision."
The 60 foot black pine tree had stood on the grounds of the St Teresa’s Home for the Elderly in Lansdowne Road, West Wimbledon.
The "beautiful and majestic" tree, which has been subject to a tree protection order (TPO) since 1990, was first inspected in 2009 by a tree surgeon at the request of Merton Council who found it had an "incurable" fungal infection in its roots which made it liable to collapse in high winds.
Resident Nicole McIntyre, on behalf of residents, commissioned an independent inspection of the tree in 2010 which concluded that the tree was in the "early stages" of infection and was well below the "danger threshold", but should be reassessed no less than every four years, while more than 100 residents signed a petition voicing their opposition to chopping it down.
Despite protests the care home this week went ahead with plans to fell the tree agreeing to replace it with a semi mature tree of the same species which will also be subject to a TPO.
Mrs McIntyre said: "The council didn’t even bother to do a further investigation which is what the expert suggested in 2010.
"The council instead relied on a report based on a cursory inspection by a tree surgeon in 2009.
"It is a disgrace that they have gotten away with it."
The tree was felled on September 5.
Councillor Andrew Judge, cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, said: "Unfortunately this tree is diseased and is at risk of collapsing.
"The owner of the tree has submitted an application, which is required under planning regulations, to have it removed and will plant a new [semi-mature] Black Pine tree in its place, transferring the original tree’s preservation order to the new tree."
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