ONE of two Silver Maple trees outside the Hampshire County Council’s headquarters in Winchester is to be cut down this weekend.

The work to remove the tree is taking place because of safety fears after it was confirmed during a recent specialist survey that the tree is diseased, with significant signs of internal decay.

Hampshire Chronicle: The Silver Maple tree was originally planted in 1977 to celebrate The Queen's Silver JubileeThe Silver Maple tree was originally planted in 1977 to celebrate The Queen's Silver Jubilee (Image: Hampshire County Council)The work to remove the tree will be undertaken in phases, starting on Sunday, November 19, reducing it to ground level to make the area safe. Subsequently the root will then be removed, and preparations made for a replacement.

While the work is taking place at Elizabeth II Court, pedestrian access will be limited, but the roads, both Tower Street and the relevant section of Winchester High Street, will remain open.

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Options other than complete removal had been considered by the council but the trunk is starting to lean, posing a possible risk to passing vehicles and pedestrians.

Cllr Rob Humby, county council leader, said: “This tree, along with its companion tree, are special to the Local Authority as they were planted to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. However, following very careful examination by specialists, who uncovered significant decay, regrettably we have no option but to begin its removal to ensure both vehicles and pedestrians can continue to use the area safely.

“We are giving much thought to an appropriate replacement, which we hope to plant in 2024, and are pleased that surveys show that the other Silver Maple currently remains in good health.”