Wildlife Trust seeks to calm Ludlow oak trees storm

by | Oct 2, 2016 | Featured Slider, Latest, News

Shropshire Wildlife Trust has stepped in to give two healthy oak trees a reprieve after a Ludlow group wanted to take to axe to them.

The Friends of Whitcliffe Common want to chop the trees down because they say they spoil the view over the town.

But the Shropshire Wildlife Group, which owns the lease on the common, says nothing will happen in the near future and they want to try to find a solution.

While all options, including felling the trees, remain, it is believed that a solution involving regular pruning is on the cards.

The plan by The Friends of Whitcliffe Common to cut the trees down has prompted outrage including condemnation from Ludlow Town Council and criticism from Andy Boddington, the elected Shropshire Councillor for Ludlow North.

Ludlow town councillor Tim Gill has condemned the plan to cut down the trees as ‘environmental vandalism’.

The Friends of Whitcliffe Common defended the decision and say it is part of a long-term plan that includes protecting what they describe as an ‘iconic’ view.

But Shropshire Wildlife Trust say no decision has been made, making a pledge that the trees will not suddenly be chopped down and that people in Ludlow will be told what is happening. It says that there is a case both for and against felling the two oak trees and praises the work of the ‘Friends of Whitcliffe Common’ over many years.

“The management of Whitcliffe Common has always included an element of tree felling to keep views open and for safety reasons,” said Colin Preston, chief executive of Shropshire Wildlife Trust that states that it is dedicated to conserving habitats and species native to Shropshire.

“Public opinion is fairly evenly divided and we realise that some people will be disappointed whatever the final decision.

“Our next step is to bring together some of the interested parties to see if we can arrive at a solution. A final decision will be made in early November and we will make sure the people of Ludlow know what’s happening.”

The Wildlife Trust took Whitcliffe Common on a 99-year lease from the Plymouth Estate in 2009. It is one of 40 nature reserves that it owns or manages throughout Shropshire while the Friends of Whitcliffe Common is a voluntary group that carries out much of the management of the common.

Ludlow Town Council has approved a grant of £500 to the Friends of Whitcliffe Common.

The application said that the group has 200 members and uses volunteers to look after 52 acres that is available to the people of Ludlow and the surrounding area as well as to visitors.

It said that apart from the £500 grant from the town council, all of the funds come from membership fees, donations and fundraising.

Vivienne Parry said that the friends had done excellent work over many years.

“I walk my dog on the common and it is beautiful,” she added.

Glen Ginger said that he was against the felling of the two oaks trees but that this should not be linked with the grant application.

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