An Everyman’s Protest.

Hi,

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There is a Battle Royal underway, in a small village of about 150 houses, in North Yorkshire.

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The villagers of Irton had been fighting for five years to prevent what they consider to be the wanton and unnecessary felling of their beloved Beech tree, which is growing on a grass verge at the side of the road on Main street.

The tree even has a Preservation Order on it.

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This tree is a beautiful and healthy specimen of about 50+ feet and it is a respectable 100 years of age.

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The problem was reported to have begun in 2006 when a Mr and Mrs Hazelwood moved into a house on Main Street, next to the tree in question.

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They applied to have the tree felled because it was undermining their driveway and damaging their front wall and their drains.

In their opinion it was also causing a danger to passing traffic.

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At some point in this long saga, they were also said to have applied for planning permission to build four new houses on their site.

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Although the local Parish Council and the villagers wanted their tree to be left alone, and even drew up petitions to support this, along with the tree having been put under a Preservation Order, it was eventually a hopeless fight.

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This defeat was possible because the verge that the tree grows on came under the jurisdiction of the North Yorkshire County Council, who agreed with the couple who wanted the tree removed.

The whole process having been reported to have cost more than quarter of a million pounds.

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There was a terrific amount of distress in the village and everyone was upset to think of the imminent destruction of such an historic and well-loved tree.

The whole, fully detailed story up to this point, can be found in this link to a report in the Yorkshire Post.

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However, Mark Snow, 36, a self-employed carpenter, had suddenly had enough.

He was going to make a last stand to save the tree.

So, instead of going to work that day, he took a few bits and pieces, climbed up the tree and chained himself there, in protest at such a desecration….and he had no intention of coming down again ’til the tree could be saved.

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It was a master-stroke which has successfully delayed the process, because the Council had to decide what action to take to make sure that their hated order was carried out.

At the moment they are said to be arranging for an injunction to be served on the determined protestor…a man who will refuse to come down, whatever they try to do to force the issue.

And he is not alone.

The villagers support Mark, reportedly to the extent of him having a 24 a day hour group of people guarding the base of the tree, and winching up supplies and food to support him in his heroic vigil.

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I think that he is doing a wonderful thing to try and save something that almost no-one wants to see being destroyed, and to make a point that sometimes the ordinary man will be forced to action by the senseless decisions of council ‘jobsworths’ who need a good shake.

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What is the good of a Tree Preservation Order, and the distress of local people about something that truly matters to them, if such things can be allowed to happen.

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Good Luck to Mark Snow …. an ordinary man and a bit of a hero!!!!

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