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Ancient oak tree triggers row

People living on a street in Portsmouth have raised objections to a call to chop down a mature oak tree.

The tree in Coralin Grove is believed to be the cause of subsidence damage to a house on nearby Hitherwood Road, the News reports.

However, residents are angry because the government is currently putting more than £1 million towards safeguarding ancient English oaks at a time when they are at risk from an unknown disease.

The application to fell the tree has also prompted questions over why the homes were built on the site 25 years ago, due to the potential for the tree to shrink the soil and create a subsidence risk.

One local woman commented: “It’s an awful situation – no-one wants a tree chopped down.

“The council should never have passed it in the first place. They should never have built these homes around the oak tree.”

Lucy Haworth, another person living in the area, added that ancient oak trees are a part of British heritage, and are currently threatened with extinction as a result of this unknown disease

She said it is “beyond belief” that trees which have been standing for centuries and are protected with Tree Preservation Orders are being “threatened with felling due to a newly-built extension”.

This demonstrates why house buyers could benefit from considering whether a large tree close to their preferred property could present a subsidence risk.

Households already living close to an ancient oak tree might also find it worthwhile taking steps to manage this problem.

For instance, going to a specialist insurance provider such as GSI Insurance Southern Services could help people avoid paying over the odds for home insurance because of a subsidence claim.

Another oak tree in a bridleway is also believed to have contributed to the problem in Portsmouth and could face the chop too.

Ms Haworth said this ancient bridleway is much-loved by the local people and helps to give the area a “rural feeling”. As a result, she believes cutting it down would turn it into “just another estate”.

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