A 300-YEAR-OLD vintage oak tree – thought to be Gloucester’s oldest – has been saved from the chop.
The tree and 23 others at land between Winnycroft Lane and the M5, near Matson, including oak, ash and field maple trees, have been slapped with tree preservation orders meaning they cannot be cut down.
Landowners objected to the Gloucester City Council orders fearing it would block future housing development on the site.
But city councillor Andy Lewis (C, Quedgeley Severn Vale) said: “These are beautiful living things that have been around a lot longer than us and we shouldn’t just go destroying them because we want to build a few houses.”
It is unclear just how old the oldest oak really is, but it is thought to be at least 300-year-olds and may even been around during the Siege of Gloucester in 1643.
Councillor Phil McLellan (LD, Barnwood) said: “I don’t think that protecting these trees will impede any development on the site.”
Councillor Mary Smith (L, Robinswood) added: “It is ridiculous that they want to get rid of these trees that have been there for centuries.
“Who knows what these trees have witnessed over time and they should not be removed just because we want to build as many houses as possible. I am glad that they are going to be preserved.”
Tree expert Justin Hobbs, from the city council, said: “The area is filled with a significant number of mature oak and ash trees. I know of no other area in Gloucester quite like this.
“This is probably the oldest oak tree in Gloucester.”
Hundreds of other trees in the area will not be protected by the order.
Rebecca Mitchell, planning executive for housing developers Barnwood Development Securities, said: “We suspect that the tree preservation order has been made as a reaction to the identification of the land south of Winnycroft Lane as a possible allocation for residential development in the draft Gloucester City Plan.
“While we object to the tree preservation order, we do acknowledge that some of the trees could play a role in enhancing the visual amenity for residents and visitors to the area in the future.”
Landowner Caroline Ground, her husband Patrick and sons Andrew, Richard and Thomas, who together form a trust known as ‘Mrs C Ground’s Number 6 Settlement’, also objected because they felt it is was too difficult to identify the correct trees in the documents supplied with the protection order.