Belle Vue Road protest update: Tree 'massacred' overnight
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save an old apple tree and a badger sett in Stroud have spoken of their disappointment after contractors attempted to cut down the tree in the middle of the night.
Environmental activist Rowan Burrough first climbed the tree at Abercairn, off Belle Vue Road, on Wednesday after he discovered that contractors were going to cut it down to make way for 14 properties.
He has spent the past five days at the site and even stayed in the tree through a thunder storm.
Rowan says his action is to save the tree and also the badger sett beneath it and is calling for the area to be fenced off and made into a nature reserve.
However, in the early hours of this morning Rowan and fellow activist James Beecher returned to the site to find contractors cutting down the tree.
James said: “Rowan left at 3am to get some sleep but we returned at 6am to find them cutting the tree down with a handsaw.
“I think they waited until they saw Rowan leave.
“Every branch has been cut down and they have got rid of our platforms. It is very disappointing.
“We got back up the tree and stopped them cutting anymore.
“It has been massacred.”
Another campaigner has also turned up at the site this morning and is currently sat in a hazel tree in an attempt to save it.
Dozens of protesters have joined Rowan over the past week including Green councillor Molly Scott Cato and residents from the Belle Vue Road area.
They decorated the tree with banners and flags.
Developer Gerry Walsh is currently abroad and unable to comment.
However, his planning agent Ben Read, of Hunter Page Planning, said: "He is doing everything in accordance with the policies and has the necessary planning permissions and consents in place.
"The trees were looked at as part of the planning application and no preservation orders were put in place.
"An ecologist was appointed to deal with badger relocation and is on site to make sure that everything is done correctly."
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