Thursday, January 24, 2019

Albyn Housing development plan threat to Giant Sequoia tree in Nairn

Giant Sequoia under threat from proposed Albyn Housing development on land opposite Manor Care Centre.

Readers can browse the application here on the highland Council's e-planning site. The reason the Sequoia has to go according to the Arboricultural Impact Assessment is:

“The removal of 40 individually tagged trees to allow the development has a moderate overall effect on the landscape. 31 of the trees recommended trees for removal are of either category C or U. However, the development also requires the removal of 2 category A trees. The large Wellington (T2152) is a very prominent tree on site, but unit 9 and 10 as well as the disabled car parking spaces are well within the RPA of this tree and therefore it would be unrealistic to try and retain this tree. “

During discussions at the River Community Council meeting last night in the Community and Arts Centre concern was raised about the felling of the Sequoia and other nearby trees. The CC have submitted an “extension of time request” to enable them to perhaps submit and objection. They are not against development of the site per se but just wish to see the Sequoia retained – well that is the impression that this observer got from listening to their deliberations.

Here at the Gurn we are minded to support such a submission should the community council be so minded. We would like to draw readers attention to an application that would have meant the removal of a Sequoia just along the road at Rhuallan back in 2005. That application was refused. The Sequoia in Rhuallan then was 25m and this one under threat today is 27m. Here's what we had to say about the danger to that exceptional tree:

"With the pressure on Nairn for housing space it is inevitable that this type of situation will arise but it is by today’s actions that our society will be judged. This is not to say no more houses, never, that would be a stupid attitude but this is about what type of sky-line we bequeath to future generations in this town..

This blogmeister is no tree expert but is aware that Sequoias first came to the UK in the 1860’s and outside of their natural environment in the American Pacific North West the Scottish climate is as close to their homeland as you can get: thus the potential for a lot more growth exists in the specimen at Rhuallan. Imagine the gratitude of citizens a hundred years from now gazing up at the Sequoia and praising the wisdom of their forbears.

It may be that two houses can be built in this plot without felling the mature trees, no doubt the council can seek the views of their experts on that one but the views of the public should be heard too. If you don’t think that mature trees should be felled please go and look at the plans and raise an objection to the application if you feel so inclined. Please pass this information on to any friends or colleagues who would feel inclined to involve themselves in the debate about what kind of environment we leave for future generations in Nairn. If you care, it is worth getting involved, this time anyway.” 

What we said then is just as relevant today about this application just along the road. Hopefully a compromise can be reached to allow building on this site but with retaining this wonderful tree, keeping the Nairn skyline and environment looking good – it isn't just about us, it is about future generations. Development yes but keep the Sequoia!


Joe Telfer said...

I am reminded of comments from David Attenborough at Davos this week. Referring to humans ability to destroy entire ecosystems without even noticing it ! It's all too easy to cut a tree down in the name of progress, but we should ask ourselves what kind of future do we want people to have ? I agree totally with the Gurn on this subject. Giant Sequoias are special, and one of the oldest living things on the Planet, they are magnificent trees and very rare in this country. Everything should be done to protect and save these specimens wherever they are found. Human knowledge of the harm that we can wreak is now widespread, and people have to voice their concern at every level to conserve and nurture our precious environment and Planet. Spare this Tree !

Anonymous said...

Woodman, Spare That Tree!

By George Pope Morris

WOODMAN, spare that tree!
Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,
And I ’ll protect it now.
’T was my forefather’s hand
That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

That old familiar tree,
Whose glory and renown
Are spread o’er land and sea—
And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke!
Cut not its earth-bound ties;
Oh, spare that aged oak
Now towering to the skies!

When but an idle boy,
I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy
Here, too, my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here;
My father pressed my hand—
Forgive this foolish tear,
But let that old oak stand.

My heart-strings round thee cling,
Close as thy bark, old friend!
Here shall the wild-bird sing,
And still thy branches bend.
Old tree! the storm still brave!
And, woodman, leave the spot;
While I ’ve a hand to save,
Thy axe shall harm it not.

Anonymous said...

All trees in Nairn need protecting.

Hamish said...

Need more objections against this application to ensure that it does not get rolled through on delegated powers by a planning officer. The NRCC objection is in the process along with those from three members of the Public. So instead of writing here to the Gurn (admirable though that is) - get over to the HC eplanning site and raise an objection ref: 18/05908/FUL.

Also get on the the HC Forestry department and make your views known to them.
Their emails can be found on this site -

Joe Telfer said...

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realise that we can not eat money." Chief Seattle

This quote is as true as it was hundreds of years ago.

Graisg said...

Having so much hassle trying to register to object :-(

Unknown said...

It was here 240 years before us let the trees be another 500 years after us and be proud you made the right decision to preserve the beauty that stands in front of us now