Peterborough MP calls for “no stone to be left unturned” to find solution to protect ‘ancient’ tree

Peterborough MP Paul Bristow has called for “no stone to be left unturned” in the bid to save an ‘ancient’ oak tree in the city.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:58 am
The oak tree in Bretton.

The saga into the oak tree in Ringwood, Bretton, that campaigners claim is over 600 years old, is set to continue after a decision that was due to be made this week (January 6) was deferred until an extraordinary meeting next month.

Campaigners have long been fighting Peterborough City Council’s decision that the tree must be felled due to damage it is doing to the foundations of a nearby property.

They have challenged the assertion that the tree’s roots are causing subsidence and have even suggested that removing the tree would make matters worse for those inside the property as the roots would no longer be there to soak up excess moisture.

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MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow.

Their claims have been supported by an independent arboricultural report, which concluded that the cause of subsidence at the property was much more likely to have been caused by a geological process called heave.

Ground heave is the upwards movement of ground, due to the expansion of clay soils when wet. If this were found to be the cause, the report states that removing the tree would only make matters worse.

Mr Bristow has long supported the campaigners and called on the council to explore ways in which the tree can be saved and called for further investigations to be carried out by an independent structural engineer.

He said: ““Since an initial investigation, there has been new research from an arboriculture specialist. This suggests that felling the tree would not solve the homeowner’s problem.

“The specialist concludes that the underlying issue is ‘heave’, which is caused by excessive moisture, not subsidence. The Council has no responsibility to prevent heave. Moreover, removing the tree could actually make the problem worse.

“When I met the homeowners, I saw the damage to the property. They are decent people who have enjoyed the tree, but they are right to want a solution to the problem, however, even the appointed loss adjuster states that the tree merely ‘could’ be the cause of the damage.

“Further investigation into whether this is a case of subsidence or heave is required and should be carried out by an independent structural engineer.

“It would be a crying shame to remove such an old and much-loved tree. No stone should be left unturned to find a solution that saves the tree and protects the house. I sincerely hope that the committee takes the same view when it meets.”