Wragby rector loses battle to prune historic yew trees


The Rector of Wragby has lost a planning battle to reduce the height of nine 175-year-old yew trees which he says are obscuring the view of the village church.

With the support of the parish council and the parochial church council, Rev Mark Holden sought consent in June to reduce the 10-metre tall trees outside All Saints’ Church to no more than hedge height - just two metres high with a three-metre spread.

Rev Holden maintained the trees had reached an unmanageable height, were overshadowing the church, which is Grade II listed, and blocking the view of its clock.

He claimed the support of the Lincoln diocese and local people who, he said, “often express sorrow” that the church is now “obscured”.

But far from agreeing to his proposal, East Lindsey District Council’s tree supremo, Robert Taylor, imposed a tree preservation order - a move rubber-stamped at a meeting of the planning committee.

In a report, Mr Taylor said: “These trees are healthy specimens in good overall condition. They are believed to date from around 1839, when the church was built

“The proposed works would be excessive and unjustified.

“The beneficiaries of reducing those of the trees that obscure the clock would predominantly be users of the bowling green - not the wider public.”

At last Thursday’s ELDC planning meeting, Coun Tom Ashton welcomed Mr Taylor’s initiative and expressed doubts whether many people used the church clock to tell the time. Committee members were told the decision would also help nesting birds.

The committee noted that, where individual branches are close to contacting the fabric of the building, the church is permitted to trim them to achieve clearance of 1.5 metres without requiring formal council consent.