Saturday, 21 July 2018

Replacement trees won’t obliterate view of museum

THE line of trees outside the River and Rowing Museum in Henley will be maintained after the town council agreed

THE line of trees outside the River and Rowing Museum in Henley will be maintained after the town council agreed a replanting plan.

But the museum’s chief is concerned about how visible the building will be after nine fastigiate oak trees are planted in front of it.

The town council, which owns the land, felled seven poplar trees at the museum entrance in December after it was discovered they were rotting inside and potentially dangerous.

It then agreed to cut down five other poplars and replace them with the oaks spaced 4m apart rather than having 12 trees planted on a like-for-like basis.

Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin told the council that there was a tree preservation order on the line of trees rather than on the trees themselves.

“The museum has said that it doesn’t want any trees put outside the front but we don’t have an option — we have to maintain the amenity of that line of trees,” she said.

Town and county councillor David Nimmo Smith said he didn’t want to fall out with the museum but insisted the new trees would not look like a hedge, as it had claimed. “I gather the museum wants to clump it [the trees] at one end so there are fewer trees in front of the museum.

“Their suggestion that you won’t see the museum from the riverside will not actually happen. I have seen these kinds of oak elsewhere and they are relatively thin.”

Councillor Kellie Gehrmann said the line of trees was “very beautiful” and she was pleased that it would remain.

The council will instruct arboricultural experts the Sylva Consultancy to apply to South Oxfordshire District Council to remove the remaining trees and plant the oaks on the eastern verge outside the museum.

It will also ask for permission to reduce the crowns on the remaining six poplars on the western verge.Paul Mainds, chief executive of the museum, said: “We have spent a lot of time with the town council discussing the poplars and the opportunities that the replanting provides for the meadows.

“We are delighted that the council is pressing on, for health and safety reasons, with the removal of five of the remaining trees and the crown reduction of the other six.

“We are, though, very concerned on several grounds about the replanting scheme and hope to work with all concerned towards a better solution.”

The trees will be put in during the next planting season between October and March.

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