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Frome’s fears for Kingsway tree’s future

Plane Tree IrongatesONEof the last trees in Frome’s town centre – credited as ‘one of the town’s few iconic trees’ – is in danger of disappearing. 

Objections are being made to a planning application, which seeks to fell the plane tree in the Kingsway precinct, next to Marks & Spencers.

The applicants, Pang Properties Limited, want to remove the tree due to fears that it is causing cracks on a nearby building. It suggests replacing the tree with a different species, such as a Japanese maple.

However, campaigners say that removing the tree would be “a major loss to the aesthetic quality of the town.”

Mendip councillors Derek Tanswell and Sharon Snook have applied for a tree preservation order to protect the tree.

Frome resident, and author of ‘Britain’s Tree Story’, Julian Hight says, “This is one of the last trees in the town centre and certainly the last tree of note in the Kingsway precinct. It plays a major contribution in the character of the Conservation Area and its felling will be a major loss to the aesthetic quality of the town. In fact, it is one of the town’s few iconic trees.

“The report suggests that the tree was planted in 1974, but with a girth of over three metres, that estimate is at best flawed. A plane tree at Abbey Green in Bath has a girth of six metres and that is known to have been planted c1790, around the same time as Central London’s oldest trees in Berkeley Square which have similar measurements.

“There are eight plane trees lining Park Road in Frome that were young trees in 1910 evidenced by an archive photograph I have seen. They now measure between 1.3 and 1.6 metres in circumference, so a conservative estimate for the age of the tree at Kingsway must be close to a century old.

“There is no substantive evidence in the structural engineer’s survey, made nearly two years ago, that the plane tree in Kingsway is harming the adjoining buildings.”