Fearing a mighty oak tree in Gillingham could be in line to become firewood, one resident decided to do something to try and save it.
Jackie Martin said she suspected the oak tree on Wavering Lane could be felled to make way for further housing. Inspired to do something about it she began researching what could be done to try and preserve the tree, and the two maples alongside it, despite having no previous experience of these matters.
On Thursday, January 22 she received confirmation from North Dorset District Council (NDDC) that her application for a provisional tree preservation order had been granted. There will now be a four week consultation period in which members of the public can voice their opinions on whether the trees should be preserved.
Mrs Martin said it was vital the trees remained a feature of the landscape for future generations to enjoy. She added: “I have a three year old grand-daughter, Olivia, and we enjoy the oak tree and learning about how the acorns grow into oaks but that it takes many years for them to grow this big. I showed her a little twig of an oak and told her it has been growing for as long as she had and she was amazed it was so small.
“I was inspired, I guess, originally because it infuriated me to think that anyone would consider cutting down something so beautiful, perfect and old just to put up another building. I just knew I had to try to save it so that Olivia can continue to enjoy it and hopefully her children after, and for her to know that her nanny helped save that oak.
“I decided also that many people speak of their sadness when things are destroyed but few actually try to stop these things happening. I have been like this in the past and decided it wasn’t going to be the case this time.”
Speaking of Mrs Martin’s application a spokesman for NDDC said: “I can confirm that we have been asked to consider applying tree preservation orders (TPO) on these trees. Local residents now have the opportunity to either support or oppose the proposal. TPOs may be made in respect of individual trees, groups of trees or whole woodlands in the interest of preserving public amenity. Where trees are protected, it is a criminal offence to damage them or to carry out work to them without prior consent from the council.
“The tree officers at NDDC will manage this particular consultation and come up with a recommendation as to whether the trees merit protection or not.
“When the decision is made it will go on file so that should someone subsequently request to develop the site on or adjacent the trees, their status will become a determining factor in that decision.
“Anyone wishing to know more about this specific tree matter can contact either of our tree officers on 01258 484111. Anyone wanting general information about trees and a council’s involvement with trees can find loads of information at www.dorsetforyou.com/treemanagement.”