15:11 Monday 10 February 2014

Burton tree chopped down due to risk posed to public

Written byROB SMYTH

A HISTORIC tree believed to be around 100 years old has had to be chopped down by council chiefs – after it posed an ‘unacceptable risk’ to public safety.

East Staffordshire Borough Council confirmed to the Mail that it had taken the decision to completely remove the tree situated in a car park between the market square and Burton and South Derbyshire College.

Council chiefs took the decision only months after the area had to be cordoned off by police after strong winds left several branches dangerously hanging from a tree

A spokesman for the council confirmed its removal and explained the reasoning behind the move.

He said: “The tree in the market area was deemed unsafe due to falling branches and limbs.

“The council commissioned a contractor to run an independent survey who recommended to remove the tree as it was an unacceptable risk to road users and pedestrians.”

The tree was completely removed following a three-day operation by a specialist contractor.

The trees days looked numbered in December when weather that battered the town caused police officers and PCSOs forced to stand ‘guard’ at the site and warn people to steer clear after branches look set to fall at any moment.

Vivian Hankey, of Siddalls Street, Burton, was sitting just yards away from the scene watching the dangerous broken branches start to buckle.

He told the Mail at the time: “What I saw was broken branches that were only just being stopped from falling completely from the tree and onto the cars below by the heel of bark.

“I contacted the council and then the police.

“I then called the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service who informed Staffordshire County Council’s highways department.

“Someone came to look at the problem and they cordoned off what they could of the car park, and stayed to warn all drivers who wanted to park that they could not as it was dangerous to do so.”

The Mail understands that this incident pushed the council to make a decision on the future of the tree.

Falling and dangerous branches have been a problem with the tree for several years.

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