Azara Blog: Cambridge city council wants to cut down the only oak tree on Midsummer Common

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Date published: 2010/12/28

The Cambridge News says:

A Cambridge resident has launched a one-man campaign to prevent what he calls a 'Midsummer murder' - the axing of an oak tree on the city's Midsummer Common.

Hugh Kellett has attached a notice to the tree - and some Christmas baubles - asking people to support him in trying to save it.

The oak is one of 14 trees on the common and on Jesus Green that are scheduled for removal by the city council.

The council says most of them are diseased, failing to grow, or dying.

But Mr Kellett, who lives in Maid's Causeway, said the oak is only deformed. He said: "I don't see that is reason to remove it."
The Friends of Midsummer Common, a residents' group, have not opposed moves to cut down the oak.

The group's spokesman, Dick Baxter, described it as "a disgrace to the English oak because it is malformed," adding: "It will denude the scene for a year or so."

The city council's environment director Simon Payne said council had carried out "extensive and thorough public consultation about replacing the tree".
"The oak tree is a young tree but is a poor specimen. The proposal is to replace the poorly formed oak tree with a willow tree."

It is unbelievable how much time and effort and money is being wasted by the Cambridge city council cutting down trees in the city. This oak tree is not even "malformed" and is certainly not the "disgrace" that Baxter bizarrely seems to claim it is, and one wonders if Payne would deem that he himself should be "replaced" if he were considered to be a "poor specimen" by city residents.
oak tree on Midsummer Common
Unfortunately some people have a very tidy-minded (one could say tiny-minded) middle class world view, where everything needs to be in its place, or should face the chop. Although this oak tree might be saved because of the effort of Kellett, there are other trees nearby that will be destroyed. For example, there are three Leylandii on Jesus Green where it borders Thompson's Lane and Park Parade.
leylandii on Jesus Green
These are also perfectly good trees, but will be cut down allegedly because they are "of poor structural form" and "vulnerable to further limb failure in inclement conditions" (according to a notice pinned to the trees). Well, they survived the recent harsh December weather. But in any case, these trees will have few defenders because the current generation of middle class people hate Leylandii (since anything that was liked by people a couple of generations ago must be horrid).

Update: The oak tree was cut down at the end of January 2011. The three Leylandii were cut down on 10 and 11 February 2011.

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