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Work begins to fell Golden Triangle tree that was saved by campaigners

PUBLISHED: 16:31 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 06:33 07 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

Work to fell a tree which has stood proudly in a city cul-de-sac for more than a century has started - despite pleas from neighbours to preserve it.

A tree surgeon begins work on a 120-year-old beech tree in Paxton Place. Picture: Kate WeaverA tree surgeon begins work on a 120-year-old beech tree in Paxton Place. Picture: Kate Weaver

In 1998, campaigners scaled a tree on Paxton Place, off Newmarket Road in Norwich in a successful bid to save it from the chop.

Now though, 22 years later, tree surgeons have begun work to remove it - despite the same neighbours repeating their calls for it to be saved.

The beech tree, which is more than 120 years old, was first earmarked for felling in 1998 when homebuilders were seeking to remove it in favour of seven new homes.

However, a tree-top protest saw the tree saved and a temporary preservation order on it.

A tree surgeon begins work on a 120-year-old beech tree in Paxton Place. Picture: Kate WeaverA tree surgeon begins work on a 120-year-old beech tree in Paxton Place. Picture: Kate Weaver

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With work now under way though, protesters have called on Norwich City Council to do more to try and save it - calling for it to be given “a stay of execution”.

Graham Weaver, 83, of Newmarket Road, who co-ordinated the protests, said: “One of the council’s tree officers has looked at it and said it looked diseased, but to us it looks beautiful and vigorous.

“What does not seem right to me is that there has been no second opinion sought on the health of the tree.”

Geoffrey Weaver, 82, from Newmarket Road in Norwich, who successfully campaigned to save the beech tree in Paxton Place in Norwich from being felled.The tree is now at risk of being felled again.Picture: Kate WeaverGeoffrey Weaver, 82, from Newmarket Road in Norwich, who successfully campaigned to save the beech tree in Paxton Place in Norwich from being felled.The tree is now at risk of being felled again.Picture: Kate Weaver

However, a spokesman for the city council said that there is evidence that the tree has suffered significant decay, which has compromised its structural safety - which the council carried out using a visual tree assessment - which seeks visual signs of decay and defects.

The spokesman added that the tree is privately-owned, with the owner having ordered the works. With the tree no longer covered by a tree protection order, planning permission was not required for this work to be done.

Despite this, Mr Weaver feels that the council should have made a more concerted effort to protect the tree - particularly through exploring further assessments of the tree’s health.
He said he plans to raise the issue with the Local Government Ombudsman.

Kate Weaver, his wife, said: “The loss of a tree is always a sad business - but just now, when there is so much else to be sad about, it feels terrible.”


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