Church leaders who wanted to axe a row of healthy trees in the grounds of Driffield’s All Saints’ Church have ditched the idea after advice from an expert.
Church warden Mr Peter Reed had south permission from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council for planning permission to fell four yew trees, a rowan, a lilac and an almond, claiming on the application that they blocked the view of the church and its noticeboard.
Some of the trees have been growing in the grounds of the church for a least a century and are a well established feature of the Middle Street North conservation area.
So the planning application to fell them caused concern among members of Driffield town council.
A site meeting involving church members, the town council and tree expert Alan Hemmingway from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council was held on Tuesday.
Mr Hemmingway indicated that any reason to chop down the yew trees was far outweighed by their amenity value and that concerns that their roots could affect the church wall were currently unfounded.
However, it would be likely that there would be no objection to an application to prune the trees.
In light of the site visit the church said it would withdraw the current application.
A statement to the Driffield Times and Post said: “Following a site meeting on Tuesday 25 February with a East Riding of Yorkshire Council tree officer and Driffield Town Council representatives, All Saints’ Church will be withdrawing its application to fell the four yew trees in the churchyard facing Middle Street North, and will be submitting a new application to carry out appropriate pruning.
Churchwarden Mr Reed said they were still minded to cut down the rowan, lilac and the almond trees but would need permission from the diocese.
The town council had said in a consultation response: “We are very concerned with this application and the notion that seemingly healthy trees should be felled as they ‘obscure the view’ of the church and noticeboard.
“We would object to this application on these grounds, however we will take thew advice of the tree officer with regard to these trees and their health and potential damage to the church walls.”
Coun Steve Poessl said it would have been wrong to fell the trees as there was “nothing wrong with them” but indicated that he would not be against pruning them.
The trees stand within the chuchyard and are owned by the Church of England Diocese of York.
None of them are the subject of tree preservation orders.
The church application stated that the four yew trees currently obscure the view of the church from the street. They also obscure the view of the noticeboard which means that when driving or walking from North End the noticeboard cannot be seen due to the thick trunks of the yew trees.
The application claimed the yews also reduce light through the east window - the principal window of the church - and the seasonal fall of yew berries which overhang on to steps to the street cause hazard of slips and falls to pedestrians.
Church officials say there was also concern that the roots of the yew trees will cause damage to the church wall and in tiome create danger of the wall collapsing into the street.
The application indicated that all felled trees would have been replaced elsewhere within the churchyard by saplings or bushes suitable for the setting.