Borough officers declined a request by the Richmond Hill St Andrews United Reformed Church in St Stephen’s Road to cut down the tree along its car park boundary, claiming it was too valuable to the street to lose.
However, at appeal, planning inspector Richard Duggan said the risk of injury to church-goers from falling branches and debris overrode the tree’s contribution to the area.
“Given my view that the appearance of the tree is most likely to progressively deteriorate, rather than improve, and the question mark over the short-term safety, I find it would be better to fell and replace the tree,” he said.
“This would have the additional benefit of enhancing the age-range of trees in an area where there are a large number of mature specimens.”
The church will be required to plant a replacement tree approved by the council after the beech is felled.