Village Web Site Forum

Andy Jackson
Sunday, August 19, 2007 23:43
The park trees
Hi Paul. I hope this isn't too controversial for the web site, but i've been askes twice now to look into doing something to save the trees in the park. (yes i was an eco warrior many years ago and many people might disagree with some of my views) But many many people in the village are upset at the prospect of the trees been felled, even though we are told they will be replaced - Is this 'Health & Safety' going completely mad? Whats gonna be next? - God only knows. So to give the people who are concerned a voice, I've set up an email address for anyone interested in joining the many others who are sickened by this proposal, where they can show their support for the tree's and if they leave contact details, i can inform them of how the campaign's going. The email address is - - so please folks lets try and get a modicun of common sense back in our village - we all love the old place as she is, so lets try and maintain her charming character. (the next thing will be you won't be able to play bowls incase someone gets injured by a stray wood !!!)
Monday, August 20, 2007 08:02
Hi Andy. Good luck in your campaign! I was very disappointed to read about the planned fate of the trees, especially as (if I recall correctly) the Parish Council's original consultant recommended pollarding. OK, so they'll look strange for a year or two but it's amazing how quickly they regrow. The Park and Clough were bequeathed to the *villagers* of Sutton so it's only right the villagers should have their say.
Sutton-in-Craven Parish Council
Monday, August 20, 2007 13:00

For Health and Safety and Insurance reasons Sutton in Craven Parish Council are obligated to produce a Risk Report/ Assessment of the Trees, Playground Equipment etc in Sutton Park.

Over the last year there has been a noticeable increase in branches breaking and falling.

The Parish Council commissioned an Independent Arboricultural Consultant (someone who does not benefit financially from any work done) to carry out the assessment of the trees in Sutton Park.

He reported that the canopies have been historically lopped and allowed to redevelop, resulting in multiple leaders/attachments from the areas of previous reduction. These redeveloped branches are present in association with included unions, crossing and rubbing branches and occasionally localised decay. The trees have been subjected to Crown Lifting which increases the likelihood of branch failure as branches are more prone to greater movement due to increased end loading and the loss of side branches, which help to damper the natural movement/sway of the branch. The possibility of failure is now increased and this in turn will be increased as the branch loading and wind resistance increases during the growing season and the tree leave form, the time when the target area use increases.

The Parish Council applied to Craven District Council for permission to pollard the trees, (reduce the canopies to the point of previous reduction to avoid the problems associated with increased loading and the likelihood of branch failure) as one of the recommended options of the report.

The trees were previously pollarded in the 1950’s which was the recommended procedure at that time.

Craven District Council following an Inspection by another Independent Arboricultural Consultant produced a report almost identical to the one Sutton in Craven Parish Council commissioned detailing the defects.

Craven District Council refused Sutton Parish Councils application to pollard the trees suggesting the loss of amenity afforded by such reduction would be significant.

Pollarding would leave the trees appearing like a row of "hat racks". The trees will in time re-sprout, but the mass of material produced will eventually only form lollipop type features of minimal visual amenity and screening value.

Information regarding the trees was placed on Notices Boards and in the Craven Herald on the 8th June, 17th June, 6th July. This along with the Notice boards advertised a Public Meeting which took place on the 16th July. Further information was publicised on 20th July and the 10th August.

The Arboricultural Consultant was present at the Public Meeting and answered all questions comprehensively.

The Consultant stated reducing the length of the branches would not solve the initial problem in the long term. Previous pollarding reduces the strength of the branches at the point of growth from the trunk. Branches become weaker at this point, with loss of side branches and increased loading at the ends of the remaining branches this makes the trees prone to greater movement in strong winds, resulting in branches being more likely to break off and fall.

Taking further professional advice from the Arboricultural Consultants the Council have agreed to remove the trees and replace them with 20/25 cm Girth Tilia Cordata (small leaved Limes), 4/5 metres high.

The Parish Council have only the interests of the residents at heart. Members of the Council too live in Sutton and want to retain the features of the Park and will strive to recreate this dominant feature.

It is the Council’s duty and obligation to try and make the Park a safe place for all.

The Park is used by all ages, particularly children, breaking and falling branches can be life threatening. The reports obtained show the trees have weaknesses, decay and defects and this we cannot morally or legally ignore.

The Parish Council have sought and acted on professional advice from fully qualified Independent Consultants.

Sutton Parish Council
Andy Jackson
Monday, August 20, 2007 14:44
Thats a very impressive response, but the fact remains, issues of health and safety are getting well out of hand. Whats going to be the future for Sutton Clough is this is left unchecked? Are all the trees going to be removed and replaced up there? After all more branches fall off the trees up there than they do in the park, so is that not an issue for health and safety and insurance?

I personally intend to do what I can to save the trees, or at least as many as possible, and I know other people in the village feel the same way. I believe a solution to the problem can be found without the need to destroy one of the nicest features of the village. Thousands of pounds has just been spent on the park to restore it to its former glory, surely the trees are part of that original glory.

Anyone wishing to help should email a short message of support to

Each email counts as an individual letter of support where as a petition, no matter how many signatures it holds can, in some instances, be regarded as only one objection. So please email the above address a.s.a.p.
Sutton-in-Craven Parish Council
Monday, August 20, 2007 16:46
The Clough is Woodland with a Public Right of Way running through it, and is managed as such.

The Councils liability extends to an area either side of the footpath although the council tries to do its best in full management.

The trees in the Clough have also been independently assessed; a report produced and work has and is being carried out where necessary.

Pollarding has not taken place in the Clough as it is not part of woodland management, therefore the trees do not have the same defects as those in the park, which we know from the Independent Arboricultural reports are a fact.

The Park is used constantly by residents and visitors alike, often in large numbers.

These defects have been pointed out and the Parish Council have a duty to address them.

A Public Meeting was advertised in the Craven Herald, on Notice Boards around the village and on this Website. It took place on the Monday 16th July. Ten residents of the village attended, from a population of approximately three thousand residents, over the age of eighteen.

All questions were answered in depth and satisfactorily as reported above.

We agree Health and Safety issues are a major problem, but we have no control over them and must follow Government Legislation.

Sutton Parish Council
Andrew Monkhouse
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 00:34
I have a question to ask the Sutton Parish Council. I am wondering why the park has been allowed to remain open to the public since the report on the ‘dangerous’ trees was first published on 8th June and presumably identified before that.

Either there is a life threatening risk to the public from falling branches that are now decayed, weakened and defected (as stated by the Sutton Parish Council in the forum) or there isn’t.

If there is, the fact that children are still allowed to play underneath these potential lethal missiles is quite perplexing. Or maybe the risk factor has been exaggerated somewhat. You can't have it both ways !

For the record and for what it’s worth, I have added my message of support to the ‘save the trees’ email list. It would be nice to have the original trees trimmed and still standing for the centennial 'opening of the park' party in 2012
Denis Pickles
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 08:27
Andrew lad, it's all a question of 'Risk Assessment and Risk Management'. Big business these days! Check out some of the HSE publications if you feel like it. might be a good place to start.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 11:15
Hi Dennis, Andy and Andrew

Dennis you pre-empted my contribution to the topic and fear,while sympathising with Andy and Andrew's views,that they are fighting a losing battle.As you said "big business" (I would say VERY big !)and along with environmental legislation an opportunity for any Tom,Dick and Harry to obtain psuedo "professional" qualifications.I had the misfortune to have H&S and Environmental control porcedures to be developed to ISO standards dumped on my desk ,additional to my technical and managerial duties so have seen it all first hand.The current "claims culture" (promoted vigorously by legal firms) for even the most trivial of injuries is not the least factor in determing any body responsible for H&S (whether private or public) actions in protection against prosecution by HSE or EPA. Insurance companies also have a large interest and say in "safe" procedures,a risk having being identified is expected to be acted upon.

Andrew,referring to the Centennial celebrations, perhaps you could ask for a stay of execution (which in the opinion of "experts" seems to be inevitable) by requesting a risk asessment be carried out as to whether pruning of diseased,weakened branches would be sufficient to maintain safety for at least another 4 years. The pro felling faction would of course cite additional expense to an already lost cause.Or is it all just a smokesceen to enable new electric cables to be laid in the park which would coincidentally facilitate floodlit bowling (at our expense) as has been mused to me as a suspicion by a VERY reponsible person who DID attend the meeting ? Anyway you've got my signature on the petition.

On another H&S issue how long is it before some lady in high heels on a dark night falls on the recently installed VERY wide slotted grids at the top of North Street exactly where the footpath along the Main Street crosses the road.Surely these should be man lids or at the very least much narrower slots ? Can the Parish Council carry out a risk assessment on these ? I'm pretty sure the Risk Factor for those would identify a higher degree of probability of injury than that by a falling branch in the Park
Mark The Park Keeper
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 12:53
Getting back to the trees!

As the Park Keeper and a keen conservationist, I hoped that there was an alternative to felling the trees, and so decided to attend the meeting (which I would like to add, was very poorly attended).

However, after hearing the consultant discuss all options, I left the meeting 100% convinced that the Council was doing the right thing by removing the trees.

If anyone is interested in coming to the park to look at the trees, I would be quite happy to show them the trees and point out the present problems.

With regard to the 2012 Centenary celebrations, the new trees will have grown to a decent height and shape by that time.

One final point regarding the cabling. To my knowledge, this is something that would have been undertaken regardless of the decision with the trees.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 14:03
I am sad the trees have to be removed but everything has its time. I am no expert on the state of the trees, however I think lots of well meaning contributors to this site are less well informed than myself.

I have taken the time to speak to a local tree surgeon, (who has no involvement with this project) about the trees, so he took a look at them for me.

At some point in the future a branch will fall from height, just prey it's not you or your children who are under it when it does. The trees are now far beyond what those who planted them had in mind.

The parish council members give their time and efforts to improve our local environment not destroy it. I like many more are too busy looking after my own life to give something back but lets support those who do.

I look forward to new trees and planned lighting.

Andy Jackson
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 15:55
A lot of very interesting comments have been made so far on the subject of these trees and i appriciate everybody has a right to his or her point of view, after all the last I heard, this country still allows freedom of speech. But the point is, surely a happy medium can be struck where at least some of the original trees in the avenue of lime's can be saved.

If some of the trees need felling because of health and safety issues then so be it. But I honestly don't believe for a second there is a need to remove all the trees.

Lets please try and preserve something of this impressive original feature of the park for future generations.
Pat Seward
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 16:36
I don't live in Sutton but have visited on many occaisions over the last 39 years.
I know the park well and the trees.
I know it is a pity to lose them, but trees like all living things have a finite life span.
I would say for Limes that have been pollarded in the fifties, they have done very well and it is time to replace them.
I can appreciate the pressure the Parish Council is under as I have been a Councillor for 20 years and the legislation grows by the minute.
Pat Seward
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 07:49
Thanks to the two Marks for the info on the trees.I had looked at the trees a couple of weeks ago and noted the multiple branches growing from one point and appreciate that this would be a point of weakness.Shame it has to be done now and could not be left until after the Centennial year.Would have been nice to have had a then and now aspect with the original trees

I also noted the power cables strung across the trees so it's no surprise that a more permanent solution was on the cards and that it's sensible to do this at the same time as uprooting the trees

But ,refreshing Alans topic of the 14th of June,why the necessity of the expense of installing lighting down the main drive when the Park is closed at dusk except for the very few occasions such as the bonfire ?.Are the bye laws to be changed to allow access at night ? Could any observations on this be added to Alan's original site and leave this one to the trees subject ?

Congratulations Mark on maintaining a magnificent park,also to the volunteers who do such a good job running the Pavillion
Dawn Stebbings
Wednesday, August 22, 2007 08:36
Hi Stan!

Thank you for your kind words regarding how good a job we do running the Pavilion - much appreciated!

However, I feel it is only right to point out that we are in fact, Sutton Parish Council employees and not volunteers.

Pavilion Manageress
Sutton in Craven
Saturday, August 25, 2007 17:17
I too think it will be a real shame to loose the beautiful avenue of tree's in the park. I am puzzled as to the historical lopping of the branches - were they done incorrectly in the first place, or have they just not been maintained properly since, to allow the redeveloped branches to rub and cause decay ? What would have happened if they had been left to grow naturally ? .... just asking

Monday, August 27, 2007 17:02
Mr Jackson, as a former eco-warrior, you know the only solution is action, not talk. Get yourself chained to a tree in protest if you're serious
Andrew Monkhouse
Tuesday, August 28, 2007 09:28
Not a good idea Swampy, what happens if a branch falls off and nuts Mr Jackson on the head ? Would you be happy to supply him with paracetamol for the rest of his life ?

Trees, trees
Blowing in the breeze
A rotted branch has felled Mr Jackson to his knees

Ouch, ouch
Lay him on a couch
Give him a swig from his brandy pouch

Action, action
Was Swampy’s reaction
Now Mr Jackson is lying in traction

Please, please
Let us finally appease
The continued debate on these sodding trees !

christine Robinson
Wednesday, August 29, 2007 22:01
In answer to Annes question I would speak to the park keeper.
Andy Jackson
Friday, August 31, 2007 11:40
Well, its with regret, even though we have over 60 signatures on the petition and a number of emails, that i concede defeat.

The Parish Council, as I've found out from experience, seems to be a law unto its self.

People are saying they agree the trees should be saved but think we're 'flogging a dead horse'...

I've given people a platform to voice their opinions, but if they don't want to use it, there's not a lot more I can do...

I'd like to thank the many people who have supported me on the website, signed the petition or have taken the time to email.

The trees will go, the park will have flood lights installed... where will it end... affordable housing built on the football pitch? who knows.

And finally to Andrew - Thanks for the Poem - Brilliant !!! - gave me a good laugh.
Friday, August 31, 2007 14:08
Mr Jackson, Considering that you are a self confessed former eco warrior, do you not feel that you are giving up the fight far too easily. Never mind offers of free paracetamol if a branch falls on you, get out there and fight the good fight. Rome wasn't built in a day, nor should Sutton lose its trees so easily, get up there and do something!
Andrew Monkhouse
Friday, August 31, 2007 14:34
Andy, I think lots of things are worth campaigning for and protecting in this world and your efforts, time and energy in trying to save the park trees has been totally commendable. Over 60 names on the petition plus additional emails (including mine) is a measure of how serious many people have taken this issue.

That said and despite the inevitable ‘fait accompli’ for the existing park trees, I look forward to seeing two columns of fresh and flourishing new trees eventually distinguishing the main pathway back to its former glory.
Andy Jackson
Friday, August 31, 2007 17:28
Swampy old boy, (or who ever you are !!!). You obviously 'talk the talk' but it dosn't look like you 'walk the walk'. You've not even put your name to this campaign by sending an email to the designated email address !!!
Andrew Monkhouse
Friday, August 31, 2007 23:08
Swampy’s persistent
Yes, down right insistent
That Mr Jackson be far more resistant

That’s all well & good
But he did all he could
And now the trees will soon just be firewood
Andy Jackson
Saturday, September 1, 2007 00:24
Andrew, your a star !!!
Saturday, September 1, 2007 02:06
if the trees are dieing or even dead why shouldn't they come down there getting replaced with young better trees that will last just as long and be just as good looking the park is always getting modernised ie parvilion, games court, shelters etc its time for a new better look to sutton park and these NEW trees will just add to the new better look.
rick phillips
Sunday, September 2, 2007 23:45
dont cut the trees down
Monday, September 3, 2007 15:52
Just out of interest, I wonder how many people who have signed the petition or joined this debate to save the trees have actually gone into the park and had a proper look at them to see their condition.

I also wonder why none of them attended the several council meetings to discuss this matter (which was well advertised throughout the village)?

I am not criticising anyone, I am just curious.
Monday, September 3, 2007 17:57
Mr. Jackson, first - how do you know I haven't signed the petition? second, everybody knows Swampy walks the walk! If you've got the conviction to chain yourself to a tree, I'll join you, can't say fairer than that. Come on Andrew, lets have another poem for the man who's all hot air.
Sutton in Craven
Tuesday, September 4, 2007 07:58
Ok so the trees are going, but still no-one has answered my question,
Andrew Monkhouse
Tuesday, September 4, 2007 10:55
Anne -

The Parish Council have mentioned that 'the trees' were previously pollarded in the 1950’s, but I clearly remember the same trees being severely lopped around 1973 leaving them looking like lollypop sticks then. I guess people though they were doing the right thing at the time.

Dawn -

I sighted 'the trees' with my own eyes in July two months ago, signed the petition and I live 12,000 miles away !

Rick -

The trees are history, get over it !

Swampy -

Nicknames are fine, it’s disguised you so far
But it's probably time to reveal who you are
I sit here pondering as I smoke my cigar
Have you got ‘tackle’ or do you wear a bra

Are you animal, mineral, vegetable, woman or man
Come on what’s your real name, is it Doris or is it Stan
I detect that you’re not Mr Jackson’s number one fan
But Mr Jackson really has done all that he can

......well you did ask for another poem !!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 07:19
Hi Andrew

you're a poet and you know it !!!!

Swampy is DEFINITELY not me ,I wouldn't hide behing a pseudonymn but thanks for including me in your poetry

Andy I think you are being a little unfair re the Council,they are acting on professional advice and as Andrew has noted the adviceis that the trees would end up looking like hat stands initiallly (see Parish Council notes above) before turning in to lollipop trees

Anne hope someone can come up with an answer to your perfectly reasonable question.Perhaps Mark can advise
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 13:08
Thanks Stan,
Paul Wilkinson
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 13:20
Hi Anne

Sorry you didn't get any specific answers, but I guess it's all academic now they're nearly all down.

Nathan Jack Productions
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 16:24
Looks bare now in the park without the trees - what a shame!
Denis Pickles
Wednesday, September 19, 2007 18:21
Any chance of a photograph of the 'bare' park for the benefit of the emigree's?
Paul Wilkinson
Thursday, September 20, 2007 07:25
Hi Denis

Yes, I plan to take some this weekend and will put them on a page in the gallery, together with some I took last weekend before the work started.

Jacki Church
Melbourne, Australia
Monday, October 8, 2007 10:36
I visited Sutton in 04 seeing relatives after 43yrs in Aus. and regularly visit this site and feel like i'm still there, seeing some family members in the pics, but what a shock i had on my visit yesterday..... all those beautiful trees gone!! why? where?
but after reading tonight all the reasons now i understand.
coming again next year hope to see something growing then.
Andy Jackson
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 00:42
I hope the 'webmaster' keeps the photo of the park trees on the web site - because if what I've heard tonight is true, the council have no momey to replace them, as they promised !!! the photo's might be all we ever have to remember them by. But all's not lost, we can all now enjoy the new lights can't we ...
A Former Holme Bridger
Tuesday, October 16, 2007 05:52
If you want to go and get yourself a nice cup of tea before you start reading this it would be well advised as I get the feeling that, due to the subject matter, this could end up being rather a long post. Actually it might be worth nipping to the loo too while you still have the chance. Ok, if you're all seated comfortably I think I shall begin.

You say that the council meetings to discuss the matter were well advertised but I have to confess that the first I heard about the trees going was actually on this website and by that time (as demonstrated by Mr. Jackson) it was pretty much too late to do anything about it. Were there signs up in the park or is it simply a case of (as usual) I have been too pre-occupied with my own thoughts to actually notice them as I walked by? (I'm guessing it's probably the latter).

Anyway, having lived the first 20+ years of my life in Sutton-in-Craven and nearly the same again in Cross Hills (thats 2 seperate words unlike the mis-spelt council signs) I was absolutely gutted when I read that the trees were to come down. They were, after all, part of the very fabric of the park, in fact you could almost argue that they MADE the park. You couldn't fail to see them no matter which of the 5 gates you came in by and, as youngsters, we used the ones at the bottom of the park for a whole host of reasons. The one nearest the bottom shelter was used as the 'base' for games of Rally 'O. Move up a couple of trees and you had the main prop for a game of Pie Crust. Step accross the path and the trees along the edge of the square marked the safe zone for a game of bulldogs charge.
And who amongst us can ever forget climbing over the bridge after dark and counting how many trees up the park you could get before hearing the worst 4 words you could ever imagine as a youngster "THE DOGS ARE COMING!!!!!"

Yes, those trees will be missed by everyone who has ever walked through the park....or will they???
Now here's the strange thing. I came into the park via the bottom gates on the Sunday of the week they were removed and my first reaction was pure shock. However, as I passed the bottom shelter and looked up the full length of the path my opinion started to change. The park somehow looked bigger, brighter, more open and more inviting than I had ever known it before. My wife was with me at the time and she made one of the most curious comments I have ever heard her make. She said "Although I have NEVER felt threatened in the park it somehow feels even safer". After a moments pondering (actually I was just itching my bum) I had to agree, rather bizarrely it DID feel like a much safer place to be even though it had never felt unsafe.
Then, last Wednesday, I entered the park by the main top gate and was hit by the sight of lamp posts from the top of the park to the bottom and every bone in my body wanted to hate it.
Imagine then my horror when I found myself saying "Wow, that looks good!" and I was even more gutted when I realised that I really did mean it. Whoever chose those old style gaslights deserves a medal because (in my humble opinion) they look absolutely fantastic.
Having said that, I cannot wait for the new trees to be planted to give them all the time they need so that they are ready for the parks centenary in just 5 short years time.
I would have dearly loved it if the trees could have stayed but, unfortunately, that wasn't to be, and they have all now gone. However, I for one will be embracing the change, and hope that one day my children will be able to stand at the top of the park looking down the path and say to their grandchildren "I can remember all these trees being planted".

Like many my age, I do not particularly like change but, unfortunately, change is sometimes inevitable and usually it is for the better. After all, who could possibly imagine the park without the pavillion and yet until 30 years ago it wasn't there.

I hope that my comments here are not berated as I can promise you it was not my intention to wind anyone up. It was more a chance to voice the unbiased opinion of someone who has lived in or around the village for nearly 40 years.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 10:02
Hi Andy

you're not the only one who has been hearing things !

Overheard in the park last week the following conversation between two bowlers.Not verbatim but representative

"The lights will be useful for the bowlers during next years season as they will be on a timer from 7.00 to 10.00 pm". Presumably they meant they would be able to leave the park after dark,after completing a late finishing bowling match.What about the bye laws relating to closure of the Park gates at dusk ? Are they going to be flouted for the benefit of bowling ? The reason given for the necessity of the lights is for the security of the Park Keeper (stated by Christine on this site about a month ago),does this mean that intruders cannot be expected outwith these hours ????? Could employ a PACK of the dogs (as used to be,see last post) at a fraction of the cost !!!!

Also in the same conversation "the rate payers will pay for installation of our floodlights". Could this be a reason there isn't enough money in the pot to replace the trees ? I've nothing against bowlers or bowling as a sport but if this is the objective shouldn't you try your own fund raising as the Cricket Club are having to do to raise funds for the Cricket Pavillion or any other person who has to personally finance their own sport.In the same conversation the club subs of £8 were mentioned,that's very cheap considering the facilities they have for a years sport and cost of maintaining the green

To Former Holme Bridger I agree the Park looks far better and open without the trees,far better for the Park Keeper to deal with intruders when the lights are switched off at 10.00 pm !!!!
Sutton in Craven
Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:56
Hi, anyone know when these new trees are gonna be planted in the park ?
Sunday, October 28, 2007 12:39
Hi Anne - I've been told the 36 original trees will be replaced with 23 lime trees towards the end of November. The trees will be around 16ft tall when planted.

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