A ‘remarkable’ weeping ash tree in Clare cemetery has been felled by the town council because it was found to be diseased.
Resident Howard Jackson said a storm was brewing in the town over the felling of the tree, which he described as “much-loved and iconic”.
The 200-year-old tree was located near a public footpath in the cemetery which runs to the town’s primary school.
Mr Jackson said: “The tree was remarkable for its twisted and entwined branches, which gave it a unique look and made it a familiar and eye-catching sight.
“The tree is now just a stump and residents have no idea who cut it down or why.”
He added: “No warning was given and there was no consultation with local people.”
But Clare Town Council clerk Claire Ebeling said the decision to fell the tree was taken on public safety grounds and was agreed by the council’s environment committee.
She said: “Our tree surgeon carried out a survey, which we do every couple of years, and found the tree was diseased.
“Because it’s in a public place, it had to be removed. We have planted a purple beech to replace it.”
She added: “It was a shame to lose the weeping ash because it was so old. But we have to rely on the experts. We have left the stump there, rather than dig it out, because we are hoping we can make it into something like a bench.”
Mr Jackson said a large oak tree had been previously felled in the town only to discover that the tree was healthy and did not need to be removed.
“On that occasion, a tree surgeon used a special machine to measure the temperature of the tree’s core. Unfortunately, he did so on one of the coldest days of the year and naturally recorded a false reading,” he added.