Historic cedar tree felled in Welwyn Garden City

FOR the best part of two centuries it has stood guard over the grounds of Digswell House, WGC, an iconic and silent sentinel.

But now its time is up, for this most majestic of cedars is being cut down.

The decision to fell the tree, which reputedly once sheltered the Indian peace campaigner Mahatma Gandhi, was taken following a vote of those who live in the former Regency mansion.

Yet this seems only to have polarised opinion among residents.

Graeme Hunt described the decision as a “tragedy”.

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Alan Crawford said: “We are feeling pretty miserable and devastated to be honest.”

And Dilwen Brierley added: “I am sad that it is coming down.

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“I don’t think it was necessary.”

As previously reported in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, the borough council slapped a felling order on the tree after it emerged that it was riddled with honey fungus.

In an attempt to save the cedar, some residents embarked on a watering programme – and reported signs it was recovering.

However, their hopes of a reprieve for the tree have now been dashed for good.

George Church, the chairman of Digswell House Residents’ Association, stressed the decision to deliver the “coup de grace” to the cedar had not been taken lightly.

He added: “It is our intention to plant an oak tree that is honey fungus resistant in the vicinity of the former cedar tree because we want to maintain the attractiveness of our grounds.”

Work to fell the tree is expected to finish by the end of this week.

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