The City Council’s Tree Officer has explained to us his reasons for removing two trees from Staunton Road ‘pocket parks’ adjacent to gardens in Sandfield Road.
We are removing two mature Lombardy poplar trees along the boundaries of 64 & 66 Sandfield Road. The trees are located on the boundaries between the park and the properties. I carried out further investigation with our legal department to determine that the trees are in fact under the ownership and responsibility of the city council.
The two trees are being removed because:
1- They are fast growing with weak wood
2- The trees have been pruned heavily historically
3- They do not compartmentalise well and as a result decay forms very quickly on pruning points
4- The resultant regrowth is now significant on decayed points potentially leading to failure from the crown
5- The tree behind 64 has characteristics that suggest it has been hit by lightning previously
6- The risk comes from crown failure and requires removal of the crown beneath existing wounds and pruning points
7- Any pruning works under these points could lead to the death of the tree therefore requiring repeat visits to remove the cut stump or rapid fast growing regrowth forming weak unions on future decay points.
We have asked several times whether these trees will be replaced, or failing that, whether they can be replaced. We are still awaiting advice on this.
We have asked the City Council about the length of time it takes for works to trees to be carried out. Some residents have queried why it is taking up to three years for a tree to be pollarded, for example.
Here is the reply we have received.
Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a monthly schedule of tree works. No matter how well we plan, enquiries come in everyday that we need to assess on a risk basis. This means that works are constantly being rescheduled as we have to deal with the highest priorities first.
Unforeseen events can also have a large impact on job completion, such as storms/high winds or vandalism.
Therefore it is currently very difficult to be able to plan in works any more than a week or two at a time – even this timescale is not always guaranteed.
The time involved in re-issuing the schedule every time we had to make changes would divert staff from dealing with the enquiries or planning the works.
We are asking whether in progress messages can be sent to those who have reported tree defects so that residents know the request has not got lost in the system.
Oxford City Council is being consulted by the Forestry Commission on an application for a Felling Licence that has been made by Christ Church. The Forestry Commission deadline for comments is 1st September 2017.
The application is to fell 24 trees (mixed species; predominantly hornbeam, but also including ash, hawthorn and sycamore) and replant with 22 lime trees (Tillia x europea ‘Pallida’) at Rose Lane Walk, Christ Church Meadow.
In response to the Forestry Commission consultation, officers recommend under delegated powers
- to raise no objection to the grant of a Felling Licence;
- to ask the Forestry Commission to impose a condition on any Felling Licence requiring 22 heavy standard common lime trees to be planted before the end of the first planting season in the year that the trees are felled; and,
- to ask the Forestry Commission to impose a condition requiring tree felling not to take place during the ecologically sensitive time of the year between 1st April and 1st October unless there is a clear over-riding justification.
Full details can be viewed on the Council’s website
Although this application does not affect Headington Ward, we appreciate that many of our residents will want to know about this consultation.
In following up a resident enquiry, we have made contact with the Facilities Manager at the OU Hospitals’ Trust who has kindly sent us the following update about trees on the JR site.
The two Poplars mentioned were felled on 14th Jan ’17 due to disease, one was rotten at the bottom and the other was rotten further up. Both were detailed to the council in our application and we will be imminently replacing these with lime trees.
The other tree mentioned was our precious Mulberry that unfortunately had major decay in the main stem and limbs so we had to pollard it quite severely so as to prolong its life and encourage it to grow further. This was completed on 21st Jan ’17.
The Trust does not have a tree management policy as such but I would like to assure you that we complete Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM). We contract professional services to conduct Tree Safety Surveys every 2 years and from this report we program in essential works that are required with our contracted professional tree surgeon; dependant on the available funding. As previously mentioned, any works within the conservation area will be detailed to the council for their review prior to commencement. Any trees that require felling do get replaced with suitable alternatives to continue to preserve our valued landscapes.
I do have other works to complete in the near future that I have briefly detailed below:
- 2 x tall Poplars to fell due to visible cavities in the main stem.
- 2 x tall Poplars to reduce to previous pruning point.
- 1 x False Acacia to fell due to main stem decay caused by laetiporous.
As we are getting lots of emails about trees, we thought we would re-issue the link to the Urban Tree Survey/Canopy report from last year for your information.
To access it please follow this link to the Canopy report
We have written to the Tree Officers concerning the number of trees being felled in the Ward. Numbers appear to be climbing (although this may be due to the time of year) and we are trying to find out if replacement trees will be planted in order to maintain the ward’s tree canopy cover.
The latest lists include:
Fell 1no. Beech Tree, Prune 1 Cedar Tree, Raise crown of 1no. London Plane tree and Crown Raise group of trees (G1) to provide highways clearance in Old Headington Conservation Area.
JR Estates, Osler Road
Fell 1 Eucalyptus tree Old Headington Conservation Area.
24 Old High Street
Fell 1 Western Red Cedar tree in Old Headington Conservation Area.
35 St Andrew’s Road
Fell 1 Sycamore tree in Headington Hill Conservation Area.
The Bursary Headington School Headington Road
The condition of the wall in Cuckoo Lane (inside Osler Road entrance, north side) is often questioned by residents.
Is this wall safe?
We have received the following report from a council building control surveyor which may be of interest to residents.
I have visited the site and from my inspection consider the wall is not dangerous or in a position to collapse in its current state of repair.
The reason for the crack and bulge appears to be from a historic ivy covered tree stump located right against the retaining wall bulge which when the cut tree was alive and growing, pushed the wall out prior to its removal causing the bulge.
The large mature conifer close to the stump appears to be at full maturity and not likely to exceed in size which is unlikely to push the wall further out a couple of metre further down the pathway from the reported wall crack and bulge.
The other reason for the crack is from thermal expansion and contraction of a very long straight wall running along Cuckoo Lane with no expansion joints (typical of a wall of this age and construction) which in colder periods, the crack will increase in size and on hotter weather close up almost completely, hence would not recommend it to be filled either to allow for the thermal expansion.
Therefore in its current condition, the wall is not in a dangerous state of repair and no remedial work required at this stage.
I trust the above is of assistance and reassurance
The A420 Headington Road will be closed on Sunday 18th October from 08:00-15:00 between the junction of Marston Road and Gipsy Lane.
A “No Waiting” restriction will also apply. This means that vehicles will need to be removed from the highway where there are yellow “No Waiting” cones in place.
The closure is to enable tree work including tree removal by crane.