An iconic oak tree which has been enjoyed by generations of Old Dalby residents is set to be chopped down because its advanced decay means there is a danger it may fall on pedestrians or passing vehicles.
Parish councillors voted to remove the turkey oak at their latest meeting after they considered a report by experts which indicated it would be dangerous to retain it.
The future of the tree will now depend on a final decision being taken by Melton Borough Council, which has to be notified because it is located in the village’s conservation area.
Lucy Flavin, clerk to Nether Broughton and Old Dalby Parish Council, told the Melton Times: “The parish council has decided on safety grounds that the tree will unfortunately have to be taken down.
“We have notified the borough council about our decision.”
Concerns about the tree were initially raised by Leicestershire County Council’s highway tree inspector, prompting the parish council to commission a report on it.
Symbiosis Consulting carried out an extensive survey on the health of the turkey oak, which is in a prominent position on the western end of The Green, close to the junction of Main Road and Chapel Lane.
The organisation’s expert states in their report: “The extent of the decay and associated hollowing renders the tree susceptible to collapse, either as a consequence of the failure of the buttress roots or the cross-sectional flattening of the hollow trunk.
“Given the proximity of the oak to the road, and the potential consequences if it were to fall, a more cautious approach needs to be adopted than if it were growing in a more isolated situation.
“Regrettably, I find myself with no option but to recommend that the tree be removed and an appropriate replacement planted in a suitable location nearby.”
The turkey oak will be well known to anyone who has attended the popular Old Dalby Day event over many years.
Some residents are unhappy about the decision, including Valerie Smith-Mckenna, who commented on a community Facebook page: “Horrified and heart-broken to hear that ‘the powers that be’ are talking of cutting down this majestic, beautiful, iconic tree that simply is Old Dalby.
“If anyone can protect it and stop it happening please do.”