Northamptonshire oak: Petition to save tree from roadworks signed by almost 2,000

Oak tree Image copyright Google
Image caption The tree in Higham Ferrers, known locally as Three Oaks and believed to be about 400 years old, is due to be cut down as part of the Chowns Mill roundabout roadworks

More than 1,800 people have signed a petition to save a centuries-old oak tree that is due to cut down as part of £24m roadworks.

The tree, known as "Three Oaks" due to its shape, is on Station Road in Higham Ferrers near the A45/A6 roundabout.

Highways England said it only cuts down trees "where it is essential to keep people safe".

But Justina Bryan, who started the petition, said: "It is not in the way of the road and that's what upset me."

She said the Chowns Mill junction "needs improvement" but she found out last month the tree, which is believed to be about 400 years old, was under threat and began to raise awareness locally.

She said her mother would tell her about "stopping at the Three Oaks" and she had messages from other residents with similar recollections.

'Risk of falling'

"I'm born and bred in Higham Ferrers and feel like previous generations have touched it. There's a continuity to the tree and it will be here long after we have gone," said Ms Bryan.

Image copyright @OaksSave/Justina Bryan
Image caption The tree was a prominent landmark in Higham Ferrers when Station Road was the only route into the town

She said she was "absolutely surprised" by the reaction and the number of people who signed the petition.

"Since the weekend my life has been about this tree, I hope it now stays," she said.

The work on the roundabout is due to begin next month.

Highways England project manager Dean Holloway said: "We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and are one of the largest tree-planting organisations in the UK."

He said there was "a danger that this oak tree will be at risk of falling" once the work on the junction is carried out.

"We are still investigating whether there are any options that would enable us to retain the tree and keep pedestrians and road users safe," he added.

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