'Landmark tree' saved from the chop as support gathers pace

A campaign to save a century-old tree which was facing the chop has paid off after a provisional preservation order was put in place.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:30 pm

The huge lime tree on Station Road in Altofts came within minutes of being felled recently, and it was only when concerned residents confronted contractors that the work was halted.

Now with hundreds backing it to remain, Wakefield Council has processed the application for a full order on that tree, and eight others in the area.

That means it will be protected until a final decision is made.

Allison and Andrew Lund, who live opposite the tree.

Allison Lund who lives opposite the tree and was the first out of her house when the chainsaws were revved up.

She said: “I’m over the moon and just relieved. They should not be chopping this tree down.

“It is beautiful and magnificent and is just the perfect tree.

“It’s been there that long, and I just think we are pushing the environment programme and we need more trees.

The tree is thought to be well over 100-years-old.

“We should be complementing them not have them cut down.

Part of Altofts Hall Farm, it is thought the tree could be up to 150-years-old, with pictures existing from 1900 showing it to be already well established.

More than 300 people signed an online petition before the provisional preservation order was put in place.

The campaign had included the backing of the area’s three ward councillors, including Councillor Josie Farrah.

She said: “It’s like a landmark in Altofts, it’s huge.

“It’s the age of the tree and its size that’s important.

“We don’t want to see trees like this cut down, they need protecting."

Developer Taylor Wimpey now owns the land on which the lime tree sits, with a view to developing the land.

They said that the preservation order was not on the tree at the time and they were legally within their right to chop it down.

They say an ecologist checked the tree to ensure no birds had been nesting at the time. However, they say that work was stopped immediately when concerns were raised.

They added: “We are keen to work with the local community on our plans, as well as the tree preservation Order process, and look forward to fully engaging in an open dialogue in the near future to discuss this.”