The Cliftonville ‘Christmas tree’ could be cut down

The tree outside St Paul's Church Photo Peter Davis

A planning application has been submitted to Thanet council for permission to cut down the Cliftonville ‘Christmas tree.’

The applicant, Kay-Bradley Tree Care, says the Leylandi must come down because: “The tree is situated on a raised wall and the roots are starting to crack the face of it. The pavement next to the tree is also being broken by the roots; the pavement has already been repaired once.”

The application, which was lodged on November 3, has received two objections.

One resident said she was stunned by the application.

‘No reason’

Kerstin Morris said in her objection: “I am quite stunned that a decision has been made to fell Leylandi and adjoining trees at St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville.

“I have been a local all my life and have seen these trees since I was a child. In fact, they have been there long before I was born.

“Leylandi, although it can be a fast growing tree, roots grow straight in order to provide anchorage for the tree. There is no reason for this tree (which has been Cliftonville’s Christmas tree for years) to be felled. It seems to me that Thanet District council is getting fell happy with the minimal amount of trees left in the area.

“Godwin Road was once full of trees….as was my road Garfield…. but all have been felled. Considering the amount of trees that grow on road sides and streets in Surrey it makes no sense why Thanet District Council isn’t doing more to replant and save what’s left in our area, especially at the ecologically critical times we live in.”


Resident Peter Davis also sent in an objection, saying: “These trees at St Paul’s Church are a beautiful oasis in a tree barren area. Cliftonville West has lost nearly all of its trees, especially trees of this age. This is a conservation area and the trees enhance the area so much in both looks and resident’s health. I strongly believe the tree should be kept along with any other trees. If a decision is made to destroy the tree then a replacement must be planted.”


But Terry McElligott, of St Paul’s Church, said the tree in question has not used for festive lights for several years., adding: “The lights were transferred to the garden’s central tree and have been switched on each Christmas along with the actual Christmas tree which was kindly paid for each year by Northdown Road traders association, up until last year when the new ‘slightly controversial’ modern artificial tree was built. I would have thought if the lady (Ms Morris) was local to St Paul’s then she would have noticed all this.

“There are several other trees which are on the border with Edgar Road and not being felled, as claimed, just being necessarily pruned. This necessary work is done during the trees dormant cycle in Autumn and Winter. Those sycamores need to be pruned every so many years when they grow too big. It is normal tree care practice to remove any dead or danger branches and to top them, they will grow back again like they have for over a hundred years so far.

“To make this very clear, there is only ‘one’ tree being felled and it is only because it has become too large and now a possible danger to the public as of the position where it was planted. It was obviously meant to just be ornamental and not get as large as it has.

“The other Leylandii that were planted in the garden at the same time were removed long before they got this large, but the wall surrounding this one has started to crack and break up and the pavement where the public walk through the garden has become a trip hazard at this point as it’s roots are pushing it up. It has been repaired twice before now.

“On top of all this the council/police CCTV operators tell us the branches of the Leylandii do stop them from scanning Edgar Road on its western side from the camera positioned on the street junction island. We all love our trees as much as our neighbours do but they need care and attention now and then. Nothing drastic is going on there, only necessary works.”



Last year Cliftonville had a man-made Christmas tree ‘in a cage’ to mark the festive season.

The application can be found here

A decision has not yet been made by Thanet council.

Click here for details of the Cliftonville Christmas light switch-on event

1 Comment

  1. The lady is wrong about the leylandii tree. It is not the Cliftonville Christmas tree. If she has lived here all her life as she says then she would know that. St Paul’s has always had a cut Christmas tree each year at the front of the garden on the border of Northdown Road near the telephone boxes and placed into a special holder built into the ground. The Leylandii did once have some festive lights added but they had to be removed due to them breaking each time the wind blew the long branches. They were in addition to the Christmas tree and there are still additional lights on the central garden tree which will be switched on along with the Christmas tree again on December 7th. Everybody is welcome to come and enjoy the switch-on event.
    Also there is only one tree that needs to be felled not all the trees as described by the objector. The sycamore trees on the border with Edgar Road are pruned as a matter of course within regulations when they get too big and these have now started to be cut. This is normal practice in the Autumn and Winter months while the trees are dormant and the lady really should have noticed them being pruned before if she has lived nearby all her life. They will sprout new branches again. I have lived nearby for 30-odd years and have seen them pruned several times.
    The Leylandii tree must be felled as it has become dangerous to the public. It wasn’t positioned or intended to grow this big and the path has had to be repaired twice over the last couple of years where the roots are pushing up and causing a trip hazard. The wall that encloses that tree has also been damaged by it’s size. This is the only tree that is being felled, out of necessity. We all love the trees, especially the Canadian Maple tree in the centre of the garden.

Comments are closed.