We very much respect the sentiment behind Mr Birch’s letter. Trees are hugely valuable in urban settings and Stroud is lacking in them.
Having lost the other hornbeam in the square many years ago due to contamination, this and the Ginkgo outside Five Valleys remain the only significant trees in the town centre.
However, this hornbeam is not a healthy specimen and is reaching the end of its life. Hornbeam can live up to 300 years in ideal settings, fastigiate varieties generally less. Conditions are far from ideal outside the Sub Rooms.
Our idea is to replace it with three healthy, legacy trees that will provide the people and wildlife of the town with all the things urban trees can offer for 100+ years. We think it would be a shame to sacrifice the opportunity to do so for the sake of one tree that might last another 10 years in poor health, at which point there may not be the financial opportunity to replace it. Retaining the hornbeam would significantly impact on the chances of success of the proposed system as it would compete for light and water.
Regarding the Pied Wagtail roost, we understand that this moved elsewhere several years ago. We hope that it and other wildlife will return, should we be able to restore the town square with the trees and plants proposed in this scheme.
Our whole reason for putting these ideas forward is to secure a future that includes trees in the town. Yet we fully understand how removing one can appear to be counterintuitive. We are working with the Arboricultural Association based in Stonehouse to help get the very best advice on how to achieve a scheme that will deliver more trees in town for future generations.
Stroud Town Council