Neighbours in Cornwall hold sit-down protest to save road's largest tree

Neighbours holding a sit-down protest to save their road's only large tree have said they will not leave until its future is secure.

Sue Bradshaw, 61, and Monica Linthwaite, 59, live on Poltair Road in Penryn and have a clear message for Cornwall Council's contractor Cormac who arrived to cut the sycamore down: "Leave our tree alone."

The tree has been deemed "dangerous" by Cormac and was due to be felled.

On Tuesday 13 April the pair say they woke up to the sound of a chainsaw revving and rushed outside to see a Cormac worker up the tree beginning to prune it.

The neighbours want save their road's only large tree. Credit: Cornwall Live/BPM

Ms Bradshaw said: "He'd been successful in cutting some branches off, and said he'd been told by the council to get the tree down.

"We were told in no uncertain terms to get back because the tree was coming down. We have our chairs, and our blankets. And we’ll be here for the duration."

The council-run public works company last week sent workers to take off parts of the tree, ahead of its felling and Ms Bradshaw and Ms Linthwaite chained themselves to the tree, before the workers left.

But the women have now taken a slightly more comfortable route and took out chairs, a blanket and plenty of reading materials.

They have offered hard hats, in case of any falling piece of wood. Credit: Cornwall Live/BPM

Ms Bradshaw said she thinks the tree is "beautiful" and needs protecting."It's been here long before the houses around here were built, and we're here on this chilly day because look at what's happened.

"It has been with me for 30 years, ever since I lived here, and Monica's been here 59 years. You can't just cut down a beautiful tree like this.

"We've got magazines, we've been supplied with sandwiches by the neighbours, and we'll stay as long as necessary."If it is actually dangerous, we'll accept it, but at the moment no one will prove that to us so let's get the experts in and we'll discuss it."If we don't do something, beautiful trees like this will disappear."Ms Linthwaite, Ms Bradshaw's neighbour, said her reasons for protecting the tree are personal: "I was born in this house, and my dad built me a rope ladder in this tree."It's beautiful, I don't mind them cutting its off which are rotten, but no need to cut it down."Cormac workers left the site at around midday today, presumed to be planning to return another day.A Cormac spokesperson said: "The Sycamore at Poltair Road is one of Cornwall Council Highway’s ‘Street Trees’. The Street Tree population is regularly inspected and managed by Cormac tree specialists, on behalf of Cornwall Council, to ensure the safety of highway users.

"Our tree specialists have been periodically monitoring the condition of this particular Sycamore tree since 2012 when it was first identified that it was showing signs of ill health and decay.

"The most recent inspection of this tree highlighted that its condition has worsened and that it poses a danger to residents and users of Poltair Road, regretfully it will need to be taken down.

"Before we undertake any further work, Cormac and Cornwall Council representatives will meet with those concerned at the earliest opportunity, to talk through our assessment of the tree and the action necessary to maintain highway safety."

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