BROMSGROVE Society’s chairman says the district council should move to ensure historical town features are protected, after a popular 40-year-old tree was felled.

Society chairman, Ron Skidmore, said he became aware trees on the site of the former DDS and S club were in danger when rumours began circulating the property had been acquired by a private developer, early last week.

Of particular concern was a well known blue cedar tree, which had stood in the grounds of the former serviceman’s club for over four decades.

Mr Skidmore told the Advertiser/Messenger he attempted to contact Bromsgrove District Council to lodge a request for a tree preservation order but discovered the officer responsible was away. Despite speaking to other officers, no action was taken.

In an attempt to delay the action himself the chairman went to the site to put a notice on the tree last Saturday morning, only to find tree surgeons had already arrived and put ropes around its upper branches.

Mr Skidmore said: “After a brief conversation with the workmen, where they said without any formal paperwork they had no obligation to delay, the trees were felled. This is a tragedy of some magnitude.

“The blue cedar was an exceptionally fine example of a rare species in this country and yet to achieve full maturity.

“I am extremely disappointed the council allowed this to happen.”

Mr Skidmore said the council should formulate a plan for the “retention and enhancement” of historical features within the town.

“Its (the cedar’s) removal brings into sharp focus the need for the council to carry out a full assessment of the town’s natural assets and preserve them,” he added.

A spokesman for Bromsgrove District Council said: “We were informed of a potential threat to a tree, but unfortunately the tree officer was not aware the threat was imminent and the tree was felled before the work required to create a tree preservation order could be carried out.

“Overall guidelines for development in the town, including the protection of environmental and historic assets such as certain trees, will be part of the town centre area action plan the council is currently working on.”

Attempts to contact the private developer, which the Advertiser/Messenger understands purchased the club last Wednesday, proved unsuccessful before we went to press.