Plan to fell Wareham sycamore tree faces objection from residents

UPDATE: Wareham Sycamore: felling refused for protected tree

A CAMPAIGN has been launched in a bid to save a landmark sycamore tree in Wareham – despite experts saying it is “structurally compromised”.

SoundWood Tree Consultancy, on behalf of Cottees Management Ltd, has submitted a planning application to Dorset Council to fell the tree, on land to the north of 38 East Street, the former site of Cottees auction house. 

The proposal would see the tree felled and replaced with a container-grown sycamore “in the front communal garden in the vicinity of, but not on, the felling site”, the application said. 

“The tree is structurally compromised with a combination of a heavily decayed stem and included main stem unions,” it went on. 

The plan said the removal of an outbuilding has left the tree “somewhat exposed to directional wind forces” which causes it “additional stress” and “represents an unreasonable liability and financial burden” on the owners. 

A flyer printed in opposition to the tree's felling. Photo: Facebook

A flyer printed in opposition to the tree’s felling. Photo: Facebook

However, the plan has prompted opposition from some in the community.

Save our Sycamore Tree fliers have been printed, calling on residents to object to the plan in a bid to protect “one of very few street trees on this side of town”. 

Others were more sympathetic to the scheme, with one Facebook user saying: “No objection from me on the basis that they intend to replace it… No doubt people’s mindsets would soon change if they were the ones having to stress about the potentially dangerous tree damaging their property or injuring someone.”

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The application says the sycamore is the subject of a tree preservation order from 2016 and is in the Wareham Conservation Area.

As a result, even pruning the tree requires a formal application to Dorset Council. 

It said the tree is an “important amenity specimen” for the street, but its residential location and “risk of it causing significant harm, requires a high level of scrutiny”. 

The sycamore is “declining in vitality” and its “arguably very poor structural condition” is of “pressing concern”, it said.

The sycamore, looking east from the entrance to Knightstone Close. Photo: SoundWood Tree Consultancy

The sycamore, looking east from the entrance to Knightstone Close. Photo: SoundWood Tree Consultancy

The survey concluded that given its location and condition, “it would not be acceptable in risk management terms for the tree to stay as is, and some form of intervention is necessary to manage the risk of significant harm being caused to surrounding features, people and property”. 

It suggests pruning the canopy and adding a flexible bracing system, or replacing the tree altogether.
For more details, and to comment on the scheme, log on to and search for application reference P/TRT/2023/06377.

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