York & North Yorkshire

Row over old beech tree in Irton costs £250,000

A five-year legal row over a 100-year-old tree in a North Yorkshire village has cost taxpayers £250,000.

The beech tree in the village of Irton, near Scarborough, is due to be chopped down on Tuesday after a judge's order.

In 2006 a nearby property owner asked for the 60ft (18m) tree to be felled because of safety fears.

After a legal battle the highways authority, North Yorkshire County Council, has been left with the bill to remove the tree.

The initial request to fell the tree came after a claim its roots were damaging the drains and a high boundary wall of a nearby property.

Strong feelings

When villagers objected the idea was rejected and Scarborough Borough Council put a tree preservation order on the beech.

A legal battle followed and now a judge has ordered the tree to be felled leaving the county council with costs of £250,000.

The tree stands close to a road through the village and its fate has generated strong feelings. One villager, Shirley Marshall, has even written a "eulogy" for the tree.

In a statement the county council said it has legal and statutory obligations over which it has no discretion and as the highways authority it must act according to the law.

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