Oak tree felled in Lancaster Castle park

One of the oak trees outside Lancaster Castle has been chopped down.
One of the oak trees outside Lancaster Castle has been chopped down.

An old oak tree has been felled outside Lancaster Castle.

The tree, close to the John O’ Gaunt gates in Castle Park, was felled due to its “poorer form” compared to another close by.

But Green Coun Jon Barry said the tree was felled because it obscured the view of the castle gates.

Coun Barry said he had been fighting against the removal of the tree since 2005, and only found out about the decision a few days before it was to be cut down.

Lancaster City Council said an application was submitted for the felling of the red oak tree which had “become suppressed” by another much more mature tree of the same species.

A spokeswoman said: “The tree was of poorer form and the removal of it would have a lesser impact on the wider conservation area.

“Based on good arboricultural practice, the application raised no objections and the felling has taken place.

“As part of the same application, the council will be undertaking further arboriculture works on this site in the autumn/winter in the interest of health and safety and good arboricultural practice.

“This includes the removal of a large bough of the larger red oak tree which is encroaching over the public highway and the opposing residential properties and the felling of an over mature horse chestnut tree which is in poor structural condition.”

Coun Barry said said the city council response is only half true, and that the Duchy of Lancaster and city council “decided that it obscured the view of the castle gates”.

He said: “This tree has been under threat for many years because of its proximity to the gates. I and other Green Party councillors have argued against it being felled on numerous occasions from about 2005. Sometimes my arguments were successful and, when they were not, the council didn’t get round to do the felling.

“Whilst it was ‘growing in’ to the tree next to it, I would have aimed to do some judicious pruning rather than felling.”

A spokeswoman for the Duchy of Lancaster, which owns Lancaster Castle, said the land did not belong to the castle, and it had not requested the tree’s removal.