Page last updated at 15:04 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 16:04 UK

Monkey puzzle tree row continues

Monkey puzzle tree
The Monkey Puzzle tree could be pulled down

Planners will visit a monkey puzzle tree at the centre of a row between local residents in Swansea and the city council before deciding its fate.

The tree in West Cross had been recommended for removal to make way for a new Welsh-medium school which is due to open in a few months' time.

A report says the 150-year-old tree's needles and fruit could be a hazard for passers-by, and its roots are damaged.

Residents deny the tree is dangerous and have collected a 200-name petition.

Swansea's planning committee met on Tuesday to discuss whether to follow council officers' recommendation to remove the tree but decided to make a site visit before making a ruling.

Carol Crafer, who lives in West Cross Lane, has grown up with the tree.

"It's been a huge landmark and is hugely important in the neighbourhood," she said.

"Everybody around here who I've spoken to loves it and to see it felled is just vandalism.

"It's the safest tree in the neighbourhood," she said.


The council's report by Barrell Tree Consultancy said contractors working for the council had damaged the roots, adding: "It is my view that this level of damage will have a significant adverse effect on the long term health of this tree, which is likely to result in its decline and ultimately its loss."

Mrs Crafer and other campaigners have had their own health and safety expert examine the tree, and she said he "rubbished" the council report's findings.

"They are saying that contractors have damaged the root but I think it's so minor it's not worth worrying about."

She added the tree's roots were slightly damaged six years ago and tree was still in perfect health despite council worries about it at the time.

To date, around 200 people have signed a petition to save the tree.

The site visit is likely to be scheduled for next week.

Monkey puzzle trees are native to South America but were introduced to the UK in around 1795.


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