Councillors have rejected the felling of the tree, saying they could not justify ordering the removal of a tree while criticising others for doing the same. Initially, the camera will not be turned on until a solution is found.
Ludlow Town Council wants to remove or heavily cut back a tree on Station Drive to allow work on a CCTV camera and to ensure that the lens has a clear view. We need CCTV in the centre of town. But we also need trees and greenery. Over the years, the Ludlow centre has a lot of a green canopy and I am not happy about another tree going.
The tree is close to the top of Station Drive and is owned by Shropshire Council. It one of best trees along the west edge of the road. I think it is a Whitebeam. It is not protected and probably not distinctive enough to qualify for a tree preservation order.
If the tree must go, Ludlow Town Council and Shropshire Council should draw up a comprehensive planting plan for the narrow strip of land between Station Drive and the Galdeford car park. A decision on the tree’s future will be made at the town council Representational Committee on Wednesday evening, 19 August.
The CCTV work in Ludlow is planned for between 1 September and 17 September. Ludlow Town Council has not indicated whether it would do the work itself or use an arboricultural contractor. It has asked Shropshire Council what work can legitimately be done during the nominally closed season for tree work.
In its response, Shropshire Council’s tree team questioned the wisdom of siting CCTV cameras next to trees. It says that proper consideration and planning should have been applied when siting CCTV cameras in the first place.
The team says that given that the canopy will eventually grow around the camera, the CCTV operative will need to remove a large chunk of the tree’s crown. Cutting a gap in the canopy would leave an odd shaped tree and would need re-visiting every couple of years to cut back regrowth. The team says it might even be better to remove the Whitebeam and replace it with a tight columnar tree such as a Costa Oak or fastigiate field maple. Such trees would provide amenity and if planted with consideration would not significantly compete with the ark of view for the CCTV.
I am not a fan of fastigiate trees. They work in suburban gardens where they can add height to shrubbery and provide height amid mini conifers without taking up too much space. They can work in formal landscape setting. But a slim fastigiate on its own at the edge of a car park is going to look tacky.
That’s why we need a proper planting plan for the 0.6 hectare (1.5 acre) strip between Station Drive and the car park. The rest of the car park is as green as it can be. Trees in and around the car park on Shropshire Council land will need management in the next few years. That would be a good time to replant the west side of Station Drive.