Anger af­ter ‘iconic’ tree is cut down

‘SYM­BOL’ OF VIL­LAGE, SAYS CIVIC SO­CI­ETY

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By ALICE RICHARD­SON Lo­cal Democ­racy Reporter

A 100-year-old Mon­key Puz­zle tree has been cut down with ‘no warn­ing.’

The rare tree, which tree sur­geons said was ‘dy­ing,’ has stood in the cen­tre of Hale vil­lage in Ash­ley Road for al­most a cen­tury.

It first had a num­ber of its branches chopped off by Traf­ford Coun­cil back in 2017 af­ter they started to turn brown and die.

This week the last of the tree’s re­main­ing branches were lopped off its top by coun­cil tree sur­geons, but res­i­dents say they knew noth­ing about it un­til it was too late.

Ac­cord­ing to Hale Civic So­ci­ety, the tree was planted around 1920/1921 to stand next to the bowl­ing green along­side the main road.

Just two years ago, a group of res­i­dents suc­cess­fully pres­sured a de­vel­oper to re­design their plans for flats along­side the tree in or­der to save it and there have been a num­ber of protests to look af­ter the tree in the past.

But this time, peo­ple liv­ing nearby say they didn’t get any no­tice from Traf­ford Coun­cil about plans to fell the much loved “sym­bol of Hale”.

Denise Laber, of Hale Civic So­ci­ety said: “If you’ve lived in Hale all your life, you’ve grown up with [the tree].

“It re­ally is a sym­bol of Hale and we’ve had so many protests over the years, peo­ple were ask­ing when it would be ok for them to tie them­selves to the tree.

“It would have been bet­ter to be trans­par­ent on the part of the coun­cil.”

Rick Blears, who helped the cam­paign to save the tree in 2017, said: “We had half the vil­lage up in arms. The de­vel­oper backed down and re­designed the apart­ments. This time it was a done deal be­fore hack­les had time to rise. Sad.

“No word of warn­ing. Good­bye to Hale’s iconic Mon­key Puz­zle tree.”

Hale Civic So­ci­ety branded the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to cut the tree down as a ‘sad day for Hale.’

Twit­ter user Brian Coombs said: “Butchered by Traf­ford Coun­cil last year through poor tree surgery! Got it... The tree has made way for the new en­trance to the car park on the bowl­ing green... Well done Traf­ford Coun­cil we didn’t see this one com­ing!”

Colin Adams added: “Dread­ful.” Some are con­cerned a nearby sig­nal trans­mit­ter, in­stalled next to the tree a few years ago, may have dam­aged the tree, lead­ing to its need­ing to be cut down. Traf­ford Coun­cil has been con­tacted for com­ment.

The mon­key puz­zle tree as it was in Hale vil­lage

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