Oldest tree in park is cut down to size

The largest and possibly oldest beech tree in Wellholme Park, Brighouse, which has been felled on the grounds of health and safety
The largest and possibly oldest beech tree in Wellholme Park, Brighouse, which has been felled on the grounds of health and safety

THE largest and possibly the oldest tree in Wellholme Park has been felled.

The tree was said to be a danger to the public due to disease, but concerned resident Andy Smith has raised questions about the diagnosis.

He feels that in spite of the conservation strategy Calderdale Council appears to be doing nothing to plant suitable replacements for the trees which have been felled.

“It takes over 100 years for trees to mature to the size of the specimens in the park so we are now at real danger of losing one of the town’s most valuable natural assets,” he said.

“There is no question that the park is very well maintained and provides a high quality recreation facility for many of us at present, but what will remain for future generations?”

Mr Smith, of Wellholme, has now contacted Richard Robertshaw, Calderdale’s tree officer for parks and gardens to ask him for clarification of how the council intend to implement their policy for conservation, which was introduced last year, in Wellholme Park.

“These ancient specimen trees are one of the most striking features of the park, and an asset to our community which is clearly impossible to replace in the short term,” he added.

“While I understand that tree management is essential for a safe and sustainable environment, I see no evidence of a long term strategy for future generations to be able to enjoy the park in the way that we can today.

“In recent times, a number of the ancient trees have been felled for reasons of public safety, but none appear have been replaced with suitable new trees.

“This seems to conflict with Calderdale Council’s conservation strategy published last year where historical assets were highlighted a priority. Wellholme Park may not currently appear as a priority asset, but I am firmly of the view that it should be and that action is needed now.

“The pledge to replace trees felled to make way for the redevelopment of the swimming pool and tennis courts within the park has not been honoured.

“From memory, 17 trees were intended to be planted as a condition of the planning consent.

“Five trees were planted but later removed due to unsuitability of the species and location.”

Mr Smith said he would be contacting the Friends of Wellholme Park group to discuss his concerns so they can preserve the park for future generations.

“I know there are a number of people in this locality who share these concerns, and we would be happy to work with the council in a voluntary capacity if that helps to implement the regeneration strategy.”