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Ash Green Campaigners Shocked At Loss of Veteran Oak, Blown Down in Gales

Published on: 25 Feb, 2022
Updated on: 27 Feb, 2022

The venerable oak at Ash laid low by the recent storms.

By David Reading

The 250-year-old veteran oak that residents were attempting to save as part of their campaign against a proposed housing development in Ash Green has been blown down by heavy winds.

In September 2021 the campaigners won the latest round in their battle to prevent Bewley Homes from building housing at Ash Manor, the ancient moated manor house in Ash Green.

After a lengthy debate on September 8, Guildford Borough Council’s planning committee rejected two applications by Bewley Homes to build 69 houses. Bewley’s appeal against the decision is ongoing.

The destruction of the oak in the recent gales has come as a great shock to local people, who regarded it as one of Ash Green’s finest assets and an emblem of the village.

The Old Oak in Ash Green before the gales struck. It had become a symbol for local campaigners against more developments.

The old oak tree (known as T67) was classed as a veteran tree, and this offered it protection. It was cited as one of several reasons why development should not go ahead.

The campaigners consider the site to be of immense value to Ash Green’s heritage and rural character. The land is regarded as an important buffer between Ash Green and Ash, without which the villages would merge.

Asked if the felling of the oak had implications for the planning appeal, Cllr Tom Hunt, Lead Councillor for Development Control, said:  “As the veteran oak tree was being retained as part of the revised proposal for the Ash Manor development, it did not form part of our case for the appeal. We will consider the implications of the loss of the tree with the applicant, Ash Green Residents Association and the Planning Inspectorate when the Ash Manor inquiry resumes in March.”

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