Beds, Herts & Bucks

Milton Keynes' Midsummer Place 'drowned' oak tree dies

Milton Keynes oak tree
Image caption The great oak had its branches stripped back to protect the public after signs of decay in 2005

A protected oak tree that had a multimillion-pound shopping centre built around it has died, experts have confirmed.

Midsummer Place in Milton Keynes opened around the great oak in 2000 but the tree soon began shedding its leaves.

A builder of the site told BBC Three Counties last week he believed the tree drowned through poor drainage.

The shopping centre, now owned by Intu, said it would be asking the public for ideas to replace it.

The tree is one of just two great oaks in the new town of Milton Keynes, which was built in the 1960s and 1970s.

It began showing signs of decay in 2005 and eventually had its branches cut back to protect the public and encourage growth.

But it has not had any further root growth and experts confirmed on Monday it had died.

Image caption Acorns from the tree have created new saplings in other parts of the town

A spokesman for the shopping centre, said: "We are naturally saddened by the decline of the oak and this latest news.

"When it was realised the tree was in a declining state - in 2005 - the centre management team worked with The Parks Trust and local schools to harvest acorns from the tree and plant 100 saplings.

"Today, these saplings are doing well with some already growing to 10ft tall and spread across open Parks Trust land in two locations.

"We know how important the tree is to Milton Keynes and its community and it is now our responsibility to respect its heritage and the sensitivities of removing it.

"We will be asking the public how they would like to remember the oak; perhaps as an art piece made from its wood or a plaque?"

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites