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Helmshore residents compromise in fight over 200-year-old tree
CAMPAIGNERS in Helmshore have reached a compromise with property developers who want to chop down a 200-year-old tree to build houses.
Plans for 74 houses on Holcombe Road had caused uproar in the village after fears that Taylor Wimpey would fell the horse chestnut tree.
Developers and residents have now agreed that if an independent assessment finds the tree is too unhealthy, it will be trimmed back or partly cut down.
But Taylor Wimpey have now agreed to maintain part of the tree and plant several new horse chestnuts in the area to maintain the heritage of the village.
Ann Hodgkiss, one of the driving forces behind the campaign to save the tree, said the meeting was ‘very positive’.
She said: “We’re in a much stronger position than we were a few weeks ago. Taylor Wimpey seem to have been touched by the feeling of the community.”
“I was delighted that Taylor Wimpey wanted to work with us and not against us. They seem very happy to treat the tree and have even pledged to help fund it. They are open to anything, within reason.
“This tree is part of Helmshore's heritage. By leaving part of the tree, wildlife will continue to visit the area.”
Officials from Rossendale Borough Council’s planning department and Mark Calvert, associate land director at Taylor Wimpey, were present as Ann and fellow campaigners Jo Bones and Arlene Harris raised their concerns at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum.
The independent examination of the tree’s health and safety will be carried out by Mark Wadey from Barrell Treecare in Hampshire.
Campaigners raised more than £450 for the expert to come and look at the tree earlier in the week.
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