A threatened tree on the Rec has become a local cause célèbre, with 1,500-name petition demanding a stay of execution.
The mature cherry tree, or 'T179' to give it its proper name, was to get the chop as part of the Lottery-funded regeneration Faversham Recreation Ground.
The only healthy tree marked for felling, T179 was deemed to spoil the view of the park's Victorian lodge, currently undergoing an expensive restoration.
A spokesman for Swale Borough Council, which is carrying out the work, said: “Removal was based on maintaining a historical aspect and view of the lodge from within the Rec and from Whitstable Road. In addition, there is also a desire to ensure that the lodge is more open and visible to help reduce the level of anti-social behaviour experienced in the past.”
The petition, started by campaigner Jenny Reeves, says: “This tree has been there for over a generation and has provided shade, shelter and joy to countless members of our community.”
As well evicting the wildlife that calls T179 home, Swale's arboricidal intentions are at odds with its own environmental objectives, argues the petition. In June, SBC councillors voted to declare a climate and ecological emergency in Swale, committing the council to ‘reduce carbon emissions and make space for nature',
“We need to preserve the mature trees that filter carbon dioxide from the air.,” says the petition. “Swale Borough Council say they will plant 60 saplings but these will not mature enough to clean the air for 20-30 years long after the climate crisis hits tipping point.”
The backlash might just have saved Faversham's favourite tree. SBC says there is no timescale for removal and councillors are considering alternative arrangements.
Petition at: www.change.org/p/swale-borough-council-save-our-tree