Crawley campaigners desperately hoping to save oak tree from being felled as part of a new development

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Stop The Chop is the call from campaigners desperately hoping to save a Crawley oak tree from being felled as part of a new development.

John Cooban, of the Three Bridges Forum, has called for supporters to gather at the Telford Place oak tree at noon on Saturday (November 11).

Mr Cooban has no issue with the 300 flats planned for the old car park next to the library – his concerns lay with the new access to the site.

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Applicants Affordable Housing and Healthcare Group Ltd – working in partnership with Crawley Borough Council – plan to close the current access with Southgate Avenue to traffic and open a new one, which would cut through from the corner of Telford Place to the Denvale Trade Park roundabout and on to Haslett Avenue East.

John Cooban with the tree. Picture: submittedJohn Cooban with the tree. Picture: submitted
John Cooban with the tree. Picture: submitted

All that stands in its way is the oak tree.

The application was due to be considered by the planning committee on November 14 but is not on the agenda as officers have not finished preparing the report.

Mr Cooban said that any delay in the building of affordable housing would be met with ‘great disappointment’.

And he felt the offer of planting replacement trees as part of the application would be ‘never quite as good’ as hoped.

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An option for the new road which would avoid the tree and protect its roots has been included in the application.

But it would lead to a loss of parking spaces at the library and a loss of some of the space earmarked for landscaping and public realm improvements.

But to Mr Cooban it’s more preferable than the alternative.

He said: “If [the council] gives permission for their development partner’s route, the scheme will – for a foreseeable term at least – remain overshadowed by the presence of a big healthy oak tree, condemned by a miscarriage of planning that will only attract greater attention to the detriment of Crawley.

“Hence the call of a gathering at noon on November 11 at the Telford Place oak for [the council] to get on quickly with inviting a revised application including a modified, environmentally responsible access scheme.

“The message to Crawley is clear: if you need the homes, save the tree. Stop The Chop and get building.”