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Horse Chestnut Trees to be chopped in Formby Village and Parish Councillor says it is simply an act

Sefton Council wish to remove two mature Horse Chestnut trees from Formby Village. Formby Parish Council commissioned a tree survey by an expert Aboriculturalist who says the trees can be saved and thrive, posing no threat to the safety of village shoppers with the appropriate tree care and remedial pruning.

Residents in Formby feel betrayed by Sefton Council after hearing this recent news after hundreds of residents fought last year to keep the trees.

Derek Baxter of Formby Parish Council said: "I am horrified that once again Sefton Council Officers are determined to remove the mature Horse Chestnut trees from Formby Village. Having removed the tree from outside of Waterfields Bakery earlier this year, now the threat is to the trees outside of Boots Chemist and Cassidy’s Fruit and Veg Shop."

"Sefton Council are persisting in their assertion that these trees pose a threat to the general public. To address “project fear” I think it should be stated quite clearly that most agree that these trees cannot be left to decline as they are, as they will pose a threat to the safety of the public if not addressed. Although I speak for myself as a Formby Parish Councillor but not on this occasion for Formby Parish Council as a whole, I think my colleagues of all denominations would agree that something needs to be done and that Sefton Council Officers are correct to flag these trees up as in need of attention."

"At this point Sefton Borough Council and my follow FRAG (Formby Resident Action Group) Councillors part company. Formby Parish Council employed an eminent tree expert in Mr Bruce Hatton to asses and advise on whether the trees in Formby Village pose a threat to the public and what actions would be necessary to maintain these trees to standard acceptable for trees on the public highway. In his report Mr Hatton recommends that the trees currently identified for removal by Sefton Council can be retained subject to a course of remedial pruning and attention to the tree pits."

"There is a willingness amongst Formby Parish Councillors to provide funding for the necessary actions to preserve these trees, although I can only speak for FRAG Parish Councillors, I think this support extends to others."

"Sefton Council Officers appear to be suggesting that as the liability for any failure of the trees or claim for damages against Sefton Council cannot be transferred to Formby Parish Council should an injury occur due to the failure of the structure of the trees, then they cannot accept our experts report. This resulted in them claiming that because Formby Parish Council can’t take ownership of the trees the Parish Council’s Report cannot be accepted."

This is nonsense as Bruce Hatton, the expert employed by the Parish Council has advised Lancaster City Council, Cambridshire County Council, Aylesbury Vale District Council, Corby Borough Council, Christchurch College Oxford, and the Royal household. Without deriding Sefton tree officers, that's quite a CV, he has also worked for the Highways Agency, the Environment Agency and gives expert witness to planning inquiries. All of these entities have been implementing his recommendations without having to transfer ownership or liability."

Formby Parish Council have successfully challenged Sefton Council Officers and have provided a funding stream to allow these beautiful mature Horse Chestnut Trees to be preserved, to remove them in the face of this is simply an act of public vandalism."

Please can everyone get behind the campaign to retain these irreplaceable trees. Follow on the Facebook go to Save our 'Formby Village' Trees and please

Don't forget to sign our petition HERE


Stories from last year regarding the trees....

The loss of one of our beautiful trees in Formby Village was bad enough but at least we did not lose the five that was originally planned by Sefton Council. The one tree that was felled in March outside Waterfields on Chapel Lane will now be sculptured by the brilliant Simon Archer.

Harington Conservatives Cllr Dutton, Cllr Jamieson and Cllr Pitt are pleased to announce they have secured funding to sculpt the tree in Formby Village which sadly was marked for felling.

Cllr Denise Dutton said: "It was heart breaking that any trees had to be felled in our village, but as a legacy we have been able to organise the sculpting of the remaining stump into a Squirrel – representing Formby."

"I am also pleased to report this is being funded through development levy section 106 monies, so it is at no cost to council tax payers. This project will be undertaken by Simon Archer Formby based wood carver in the next few weeks."

Simon Archer has a formal background in Fine Art and sculpture and now works exclusively as a wood sculptor/chainsaw artist, creating unique artworks from dead or fallen trees.

Simon said: "Most of my work is commission based, whether it's carving large dead tree stumps in parks or small pieces for domestic gardens. I also try to make time to experiment with my studio work, trying new ideas and working more intuitively."

How brilliant is that!

Cllr Simon Jamieson, Sclptor Simon Archer (middle) and Cllr Denise Dutton standing at the tree to be sculptured into a squirrel on Chapel Lane in Formby

This is the tree that had to be cut down in our village but will be sculptured into a squirrel approximately 10ft high

Original Story in March 2018:

Tree Experts finally agree on a way forward with Sefton Council regarding the Chapel Lane Trees in Formby.

A spokesman for Sefton Council said: “As promised, a discussion has now taken place involving Sefton Council’s own internal tree experts and the author of the independent report into the condition of trees in Formby Village to consider the inspection findings in more detail."

“As there are still some differences in expert opinions, we have come to a mutual short term position. The experts agree that one tree needs to be felled and we will undertake essential health and safety work on two others involving the removal and pruning of dead branches. All trees will be inspected in Spring time to determine the next steps. We will however monitor the impact of any adverse weather in case the trees deteriorate more quickly. This work will start from Monday, March 5."

“It is due to continuous Government funding cuts that the Council only has budget for health and safety work on trees. This was an explicit Council decision as part of a package of measures to balance the budget while prioritising the services that protect the most vulnerable and provide essential services to our communities."

“Therefore, unfortunately we are not able to implement any of the wider recommendations in the report commissioned by the Parish Council. We simply do not have the budget to undertake this type of works and the practical implications of changes to footpaths and winter gritting would need to be carefully assessed."

“We do however recognise that we still need to finalise the longer term prospects for these trees and we will continue to work with Formby Parish Council and the Ward Councillors to consider the implications of the wider recommendations including funding options.”

Don't forget to sign the petition HERE

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