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Shrewsbury town council

Hornbeam tree removal

The Hornbeam tree in the Quarry Park has had to be removed for safety reasons after it was found to be in serious, and irreversible, decline.

Some of the tree’s branches overhung the new splash park and several branches have recently fallen giving cause for concern.

The Town Council has carried out a programme of works over the last three years to try and save the Champion Tree, which is the largest girthed Hornbeam in the country.

This has included fencing, ground de-compaction and significant dead-wooding and the tree has been inspected regularly.

However, despite best efforts, over the past few weeks the tree has declined rapidly and following an inspection by Shropshire Council tree officers on Monday it was found that the Hornbeam had sadly died. 

Given the tree’s location in relation to the road and the popular children’s splash park, a decision was made to remove the Hornbeam as soon as possible for safety reasons.

The tree officer gave instruction for the immediate removal of the Hornbeam. There was no requirement for an application to fell due to condition of the tree, which rendered it exempt from the normal consent to tree works in a Conservation Area.

The removal of the Hornbeam will allow the hundreds of children regularly using the refurbished play area and splash park to enjoy the facilities safely.

A new Hornbeam tree will be planted during the forthcoming winter period.

Alan Mosley, leader of the Council said: “It is very sad that we are having to remove this famous tree which has been a landmark for so many years. However, we have no choice especially given the increasing popularity of our new attractions nearby. I hope we can find something special to replace it.”

Councillor Andrew Bannerman, ward member for Quarry & Coton Hill added: “This is the sad, but inevitable, end of a much-loved tree. Credit is due to Council officers for looking after it as well as possible. We look forward to establishing a replacement, which will in time give as much pleasure as its forebear.”

Shrewsbury’s splash park opened in May after months in the planning and an investment of more than £350,000 by the Town Council.

The design, which included a revamp of the children’s play area as well as the installation of splash equipment, was chosen by members of the public following consultation last year.