Plans to fell a 120-year-old oak on Carter’s Road on the outskirts of Ryde brought around 50 local residents and environmental campaigners out to protest. Residents believe Island Roads demanded the oak be removed to allow buses along the road in case of diversion.
Alison Bulpitt, whose garden is overlooked by the tree, claimed the oak was of sentimental importance to her, as it formed part of a memorial to her son, Hoku, who died six years ago. She has named the oak ‘the Hoku tree’.
The landowner, Miles Clarke, said: “We need a change of priority. I was given three working days to take down the 120-year-old oak and threatened with legal action and costs.”
Another local resident, Len Gaskin, said: “It’s not a free country. Someone is telling me it’s going to be cut down behind my back.It should be paid for by central government if they want a relief road around Ryde.”
However, a local Ryde Town Councillor, Karen Lucioni, has disputed that the oak is actually to be cut down. Cllr. Lucioni said: “This tree has a tree protection order on it. When I saw the landowners video asking for help it of course it caught my interest. Trees are incredibly important not only to our town but also our planet.
“Along with Cllr. Adrian Whittaker, we met with concerned residents who were there to protest. I was able to confirm that it is only the overhanging branches that need to be cut back and not the tree cut down.
“My main concern now is to avoid the impact to nesting birds. I believe this is an infringement of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. We need to look after our wildlife as well as the trees themselves.”