Date: 12 April 2007
Originally published in: Warrington Guardian (UK)
A record breaking tree known as Plane Ace is to be removed from Winwick Park after Warrington Borough Council ruled it too costly to replant. The 57ft London Plane tree was toppled during the devastating winds on Thursday, January 18. It was previously secured in position by a system of underground anchors and cables.
But the council says concerns over the high cost of replanting the 60-year-old plant, together with the uncertainty of its future survival and safety and stability have given it no alternative but to fully remove the fallen tree and its exposed root system.
Dave Stamp, the council’s head of parks and green spaces, said: “We have called upon experts to assess the damage to these trees and it has been decided to remove the London Plane tree. This and the treatment and removal of other fallen and damaged trees at Winwick Park will be carried out shortly and options regarding their future replacement are now to be considered by the council.”
Planted by singer Kim Wilde when Winwick Hospital was demolished in 2001, Plane Ace is in the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest tree transported and replanted – from Belgium to Warrington at a cost of £60,000.
Winwick Parish Council wants the site to be used to display a part of the area’s history.
Winwick Hospital used to feature a weather vane, which developers Countryside Properties offered £13,000 to re-site as a public arts feature.
But it would have to be mounted and would probably cost around £20,000 in total.
Les Higgins, parish council clerk, said: “Our number one option would be to put the weather vane there. This money is sitting in council coffers doing nothing while it should be being spent on Winwick.”