A rescue plan has been put forward which could save more than 20 trees that were planted to pay tribute to a village’s war heroes.
It’s been almost 16 years since 26 oak trees were erected next to the woodland path on Broomheath Lane, Tarvin, by late community stalwart Jim Grogan at a special Remembrance Sunday service.
Each one was planted for one of the villagers who gave their lives in both world wars, as a special memorial for the community.
But in the last few years, members of Tarvin Community Woodland Trust, which Mr Grogan founded and chaired, have become increasingly concerned at how much the trees are becoming vastly overgrown, fearing they could fall victim to disease if left to grow.
However, housing developers Taylor Wimpey, who are set to build 100 new homes in the village, have stepped in with a vital lifeline to build an extension to the woodland path which would allow each tree to be replanted, giving them ample room to grow properly.
The extension plans, currently in the hands of solicitors, would mean that the current trees most at risk to disease would be felled and new ones planted in the new space.
But Woodland Trust secretary Charles Bradley said the Trust are eager to get the village’s view on what they want to see happen to the memorial.
“All the trustees are very enthusiastic about this but we need advice from others,” he said.
“The trees were planted very far apart but nearly 16 years later, they’ve grown considerably and oaks need a lot of space to grow into good specimen trees.
“Roots have extended further with branches starting to touch, and as they’re now quite sizeable they can’t really be moved,
“If we left them they’ll dwarf each other and eventually get diseased – not what any of us imagined for a memorial.”
Mr Bradley added: “None of us appreciated how much space these trees needed and it’s better to try and have a well managed memorial than try to live with the ones as they are.
“It’s nobody’s fault, just a lack of understanding but done with the best of intentions.”
Ever since Tarvin Community Woodland Trust was set up in 1997 by Mr Grogan, who built it on surplus land left over from the construction of the A51 Tarvin bypass, it has remained at the heart of the community.
It was the lifeblood of Mr Grogan, who devoted his life to the Trust, chairing it until his death in 2011.
The land was formally handed over to the community by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) on a 125-year lease, allowing the trustees to take responsibility of what happens to it.
The oaks were planted during a special dedication service on Remembrance Sunday 1998 to commemorate the Tarvin soldiers killed during both world wars whose names are on the village war memorial.
A tree was also planted for Jim Grogan’s father who was the only man who died to come from neighbouring Ashton Hayes.
Only six years ago, Mr Grogan spoke with pride on the tenth anniversary of the planting, describing it as something ‘built by the community for the community to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in war.’
Mr Bradley added: “The easiest thing would be to do nothing but if the trees stay as they are, they won’t develop as we would want them to – an oak tree needs to prosper over 80-100 years and we want to do it properly.
“It would be nice, if the trees were replanted in a bigger space, to label each one properly.
“The trustees could decide to do what we like to the woodland but we dont want to – we want to do things with the consent of the village - this is Tarvin’s woodland, we are just the ones who look after it.
“So we are putting it to the village. Do we leave the trees as they are and let them deteriorate orgive the remaining ones a chance by felling some and replant them one by one in the new woodland extension?”
“We just want to know what people think, because it is their future, not ours.”
Taylor Wimpey did not respond to The Chronicle’s request for comment at time of press.
To pass on views call Mr Bradley on 01829 741172 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org