Permission has been granted to cut down the St Paul’s Church Leylandi tree

The tree outside St Paul's Church Photo Peter Davis

A planning application submitted to Thanet council for permission to cut down  a large Leylandi tree outside St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville has been granted permission.

The applicant, Kay-Bradley Tree Care, says the Leylandi in Northdown Road 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, received seven public objections and one statement of support.

Residents Kerstin Morris and Peter Davis were among those who objected, stating trees needed to be preserved not felled.

Ms Morris said: ““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 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.”


Mr Davis said: “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 felling the tree in question was necessary, adding: “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.”


Mr Davis said he was disappointed by the decision to allow the felling without a stipulation for a new tree to be planted.

Ms Morris said not enough time was given for people to object and that the tree was healthy and so should remain. She added: “No word of replacement either, disgusting behaviour from TDC.”

However other commentators say the tree threatened the underpinnings of the church.

Thanet council’s decision to “raise no objection” was published today (December 11).