Worthing school wins tree-fell fight

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A WORTHING school has won its fight to fell a 50ft tree which it feels is a danger to its young pupils.

St Mary’s RC Primary School, in Cobden Road, applied to Worthing council for permission to axe the horse chestnut, pictured right, which was protected under a borough tree preservation order.

The school said the tree was one of a pair, but the other was felled several years ago due to it being infected by fungal disease.

An arborist representing the school said the fungus was in time likely to spread to the remaining tree’s roots, affecting its stability. The tree was only five metres from the school building.

The council’s planning committee was told by the borough arboroculturalist there was no evidence that the tree was in an unsafe condition, and he opposed its felling.

A planning assessment submitted to last Wednesday’s planning committee meeting said the tree was a very prominent feature, and made a significant contribution to the character and appearance of the Park Crescent conservation area.

“Although risk from the tree cannot be completely ruled out, the removal of the tree is disproportionate to its very low risk of failure,” said the assessment.

The committee was recommended to refuse the application, but its members decided at last Wednesday’s meeting to approve the school’s wish to fell the tree.

Members felt that the tree, despite being within a conservation area, had reduced amenity value and was a major safety issue being so close to the early-years section of the school.

It was agreed to leave the decision with the school as to the planting of a tree in its place.