Urgent: insurance threat to Leafield landmark

July 23rd, 2013 by Kate Griffin Leave a reply »

An ancient chestnut tree on Leafield village green is threatened with felling – because an insurance company believes it is to blame for cracks in nearby buildings. The huge horse chestnut tree, which dates back to 1927, could be chopped down as soon as next Monday.

Horse chestnut tree on village green

The tree has been a Leafield landmark for nearly a century.

The problems began when residents living near the green contacted their insurance company about cracks in the walls of their house. A geotech engineer and a tree surgeon working for the insurance company concluded that the cracking is the fault of the tree and that the tree must go.

However, other residents believe that the professionals did not take the full picture into account. For example, the surveyor was not aware of underpinning work done by the previous owners of the property and also did not take into account how one of the wettest summers on record would affect a clay soil.

But Leafield Parish Council has agreed to cut down the tree and has set a date of 29th July. Campaigners believe that the council is being pushed into a hasty decision by the insurance company, Royal & Sun Alliance. They are asking for a “stay of execution” to allow for more evidence to be gathered and reviewed.

The parish council is holding a public meeting tomorrow (Wednesday 24th July) where people can raise their concerns about the tree. Resident Anney Harris said: “Once insurance companies are involved in a claim, it becomes an unstoppable juggernaut, and this is what makes our chances of changing their minds so frail. But the more people who join the call to save this tree, the more chance we have of being successful.”

The public meeting will take place at 8pm tomorrow in Leafield Village Hall, off Lower End. All are welcome. Please come along and speak out to save this piece of local history.

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