Update: Ludlow Town Council has agreed to move the camera to the adjacent lamppost.
A couple of weeks ago, Ludlow Town Council proposed removing a good looking and healthy Whitebeam from Station Drive, just opposite the GP surgery. The reason was that it grown into a semi-mature tree and was obscuring the vision of a CCTV camera. After some confusion, and objections from town councillors, myself and Tracey Huffer, the county arboriculturalist said he was minded to issue a tree preservation order to protect “a well-established, early mature tree growing in an appropriate space (biologically speaking) in an urban environment.”
In the end the solution was simple. Put the CCTV camera on Station Drive on the adjacent lamppost. A final decision will be made by the town council on Monday 7 September. Councillors should also call for a comprehensive planting plan for the narrow strip of land between Station Drive and the Galdeford car park.
It was always clear that town councillors did not want the Whitebeam to be felled. Yet that was the recommendation from town council officers to the Representation Committee (planning) on 19 August. The committee rejected this:
“Resolved: That Ludlow Town Council listens to local groups and enters in to meaningful negotiations with Dougald Purce regarding crown reduction of the tree by camera nine.”
[I think the committee meant camera eight.] Discussions with Shropshire Council followed this decision and the tree team at SC clarified its stance:
“The County Arboriculturalist stated that this is a well-established, early mature tree growing in an appropriate space (biologically speaking) in an urban environment – everything that Council’s trying to encourage and support in the face of unprecedented challenge to our natural environment. He advised that pruning the tree to the extent needed for CCTV would ruin it and result in an ongoing maintenance burden. Hence the previous tree officers’ reluctant advice that it might be felled and replanted with a better specimen in a better place (from the CCTV point of view – there is nothing wrong with the existing tree otherwise).
“They confirmed that they would object to the removal of this tree if simply due to the inconvenience and relatively minor expense of putting the CCTV on a different pole, and that added the absence of overriding reason to remove the tree and given the local SC members’ opposition to that, the Tree Team could consider making a TPO to prevent its removal.”
Tomorrow night’s town council papers reveal that a crown reduction will not take place. It would have ruined the look of the tree in any case. The tree will be left alone and the camera moved to the adjacent lamppost.
Now that the Whitebeam has been saved, 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.