Published: 27th April 2023 

Oak Tree in KGV car park

Wivenhoe Town Council have been contacted by a number local residents in the last few days concerning the oak tree in the KGV car park. Thank you for your messages and questions, the following statement provides the background to the decision we have had to take. We are all sorry that this tree is being removed, it is something none of us wanted.

We were first contacted about this tree in July 2021 and presented with an Arboricultural report from the Innovations Environment group dated December 2020, commissioned by a major insurance company. This report stated “Engineers are satisfied that damage is the result of clay shrinkage subsidence exacerbated by the indirect influence of vegetation” it further stated that “the Oak is considered the dominant feature proximate to the area of movement and accordingly we have identified it as the primary cause of the subsidence damage” the report concludes with “consequently complete removal of the Oak offers the most reliable Arboricultural solution to restore stability”.

We shared this report with the Arboricultural Officer at Colchester who was unable to respond in our favour to the report. He also confirmed that crowning the tree would not permanently resolve the issue.

We went back to the insurance company and their agent several times in the intervening months querying the report and each time they concluded that the tree needed to be removed. This was also the case with a subsequent update of the original report and further monitoring works.

This left us in the position where we had to take the decision to follow the guidance issued in the report and remove the tree. Should there be further subsidence we would have no way to defend our inaction when the evidence is clearly in favour of removal. We even considered commissioning our own survey but the likelihood that a similarly qualified arboriculturist would deliver significantly differing advice was considered unlikely.

As many of you know, Wivenhoe Town Council takes environmental matters very seriously and takes a strong lead on matters of biodiversity. The WTC Environment Committee are in the process of creating a Biodiversity Action Plan and we intend to implement a scheme to more than replace the biodiversity supported by this particular tree

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