Poplar trees near Bilston school facing the axe over safety fears for pupils

Twenty eight poplars bordering a Black Country primary school are facing the axe after a diseased tree collapsed into its grounds – sparking significant safety fears for pupils.

The potentially dangerous poplar trees facing the axe, with Loxdale Primary School, Bilston, behind them. Photo: Google Street View
The potentially dangerous poplar trees facing the axe, with Loxdale Primary School, Bilston, behind them. Photo: Google Street View

The Lombardy poplars, close to the boundary fence with Loxdale Primary School in Bilston, are protected under the Wolverhampton (GKN Sankey Sports Ground) Tree Preservation Order 1984.

However, after one tree fell into the grounds of the school, landowner Charles Langtree has now asked for them all to be removed, as he believes they present a significant danger to children, staff and visitors to the school.

Mr Langtree, of the Land Trust – managing agents for the site – has applied to Wolverhampton City Council for permission to chop down the trees, which grow along the junction of Bankfield Road and Nettlefolds Way.

In a report to the council’s planning committee, tree officer James Dunn said: “The tree that fell last August had decay that had advanced to the point that the remaining timber was unable to support the weight and wind that it was being subjected to.

“This structural failure resulted in the tree falling from the base into the grounds of the school.

“Neighbouring trees in each group rely on the shelter that adjacent trees provide. The creation of any gaps within the two groups of trees caused by removing individual trees may render the adjacent trees more liable to failure.

“Therefore, even if some trees within the groups do not have any significant defects, then the removal of the whole group may be justified if sufficient trees within the group show the presence of defects.

“Given that all the trees are of the same age and species and have existed in similar ground conditions, a similar level and proportion of decay is likely to be present in the remaining trees within the group,” he added.

“The decline of the trees at this stage of life is not unexpected.”

Council planners have been recommended to approve the application, subject to confirmation of other trees in the group showing signs of decay, and also a requirement that appropriate replacement trees will be planted

The planning committee will discuss the proposals on January 12.

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