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‘This lovely tree deserves a second opinion’ - Neighbours fighting to save tree 22 years after successful community protest

PUBLISHED: 17:04 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 02 April 2020

Geoffrey Weaver, who helped save the large beech tree on Paxton Place, Norwich, in 1998 from being felled. The tree is again at risk of being cut down. Picture: Kate Weaver

Geoffrey Weaver, who helped save the large beech tree on Paxton Place, Norwich, in 1998 from being felled. The tree is again at risk of being cut down. Picture: Kate Weaver

Kate Weaver

Neighbours are pulling together to save a dominant tree which is at risk of being felled after they saved it from being chopped down 22 years ago.

The century-old beech tree in Paxton Place, Norwich. Picture: Kate WeaverThe century-old beech tree in Paxton Place, Norwich. Picture: Kate Weaver

The century-old beech tree, which sits in a private garden in Paxton Place, Norwich, off Newmarket Road, has been deemed unsafe according to a Norwich City Council tree officer.

But residents in the quiet area want to pay for a second opinion after witnessing its “tremendous growth” since they stopped it from being cut down by developers in February 1998 by climbing into the branches.

They are also concerned a tree preservation order (TPO) they believed was put in place for the tree on May 1, 1998, by the city council was not done correctly as it did not state the kind of tree it was for.

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A council spokesman said: “We happen to be aware of a tree and our understanding is that it does need to be removed for safety reasons but it’s not council-owned, it’s not subject to a tree preservation order and is not in a conservation area – so we’re not involved in any way.”

Geoffrey Weaver, 82, from Newmarket Road, who overlooks the tree and was campaign co-ordinator in 1998, said: “The tree has been pronounced to be executed but there is a legal issue. The situation is up in the air. Twenty-two years ago we assumed the tree was protected. We thought the tree was secure.”

The TPO for a tree in a site off Allens Lane, next to Paxton Place, does not mention the description of beech tree but there are no other trees the order could relate to, according to Mr Weaver, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years.

He added: “This lovely tree deserves a second opinion.”

Mr Weaver said he and other neighbours were happy to pay 
for an independent tree surgeon 
to do a detailed survey of the 
tree.

Another neighbour, Graham Blyth, 60, from Paxton Place, who was also involved in the 1998 protest, said: “My understanding was the tree had a TPO put on around the time of the protest. We were originally told 22 years ago it was dying. Here we are 22 years later and the tree is looking in good health. It has had tremendous growth. It doesn’t look like it is going to die, quite the opposite. After all we went through it would be ridiculous if the TPO wasn’t done right. It was quite a fight to save the tree. It is a dominant feature.”


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