A ROW has broken out about the future of a tree in a churchyard near Wotton-under-Edge.

The Sycamore tree growing in the corner of the graveyard of Tresham Church has a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on it protecting it from being cut down.

The church and parish council have applied to Stroud District Council to remove the tree, which they say pose a safety risk to neighbouring property.

Villager Eileen Hacker said the tree was of great importance to the village, telling the Gazette: “All the trees in Tresham are important and there are not that many of them. It is clear that this tree is in need of some attention but surely it does not need to be removed entirely?

“I am also annoyed that only those people who live within 500 yards of the church have been told about the application. What is the point of a TPO if it can be removed, and without telling anybody? It’s appalling.”

A TPO is made by local planning authorities to protect specific trees or areas of woodland from felling, lopping, topping or uprooting.

Tresham church warden David Bradbury, who has filed the application to overturn the TPO, said the Parochial Church Council had given their backing to the request to remove the tree.

“It should be borne in mind that the location of the tree exposes it to the very highest of wind speeds,” he added. “While the tree may currently be in reasonable health it has grown to such a size that it is now obvious that it would do catastrophic damage to property if it fell and there have been observations of alarming movements of the tree during recent gales.”

Neighbour Nigel Kingston said around fifty per cent of the canopy overhung his three Cotswold stone and slate garages.

Claire Halpin has written to Stroud District Council in support of the removal of the tree.

“As a Tresham resident, and someone with a relative buried in the churchyard, I would like to say that I support this proposal,” she said. “Sycamore is neither a native species, nor one normally planted in churchyards, and I would welcome its replacement with something more appropriate.”

A Stroud District Council spokesman declined to comment while the application remained live.