Battle to preserve iconic tree

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A significant programme of work is to be carried out on the iconic horse chestnut tree next to the War Memorial in Hailsham High Street.

The tree, which was established in 1840 and is currently 13 metres in height, is showing signs of extensive hollowing within the trunk, which has compromised its stability.

Work will therefore be carried out on the tree on August 14 to keep it in a safe condition for members of the public.

Hailsham Town Council’s Tree Warden, Sam Spiers, has been monitoring the health of the horse chestnut with the assistance of an Arboriculture Association-approved consultant and will reduce the tree in height by 2-3 metres, pruning of the crown on the canopy over the footpath.

To coincide with the crown reduction work, a low fence will be erected around the base of the tree to discourage pedestrians from walking underneath the canopy, which will prevent future trip hazard incidents caused by protruding tree roots and an uneven surface.

Hailsham Town Council’s works supervisor Richard Gillet, who stated it was the right decision to bring in specialists to carry out the survey which identified these problems, said: “Residents will see the work being carried out and we wanted to let them know what is going on and why.

“Due to the tree’s increasing hollowing near its base, it is now the case that in order to retain the tree in an acceptably safe condition and free of structural failure, significant work is required.”

Town Mayor Councillor Nigel Coltman added: “The horse chestnut tree makes a significant historical link to the use of the town centre in the middle 1800s and it would be deplorable if it were lost to present and future generations of Hailsham.”

Tree Warden Mr Spiers said: “The pro-active management of the veteran horse chestnut in the High Street is essential for its survival.

“The works to be undertaken will alleviate the weight within the crown and help prevent any future branch or stem failure.

“This will in turn promoting the longevity of this historical tree for future generations to enjoy.”

For more information on the work of Hailsham Town Council, visit www.hailsham-tc.gov.uk.

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