FOLLOWING the controversial discovery of two 'rare' trees on a site set for 80 new homes, the developer has pledged a commitment to retain one of them, whilst looking to re-purpose the other. 

The discovery of the rare cut-leafed hornbeams, which can live up to 500 years, at Carlisle's Deer Park, was first made by local resident Carol Black over two years ago. 

The trees had gone unnoticed in developer Gleeson’s original environmental report and would have been cut down, however, with the help of Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens and Kew Gardens, Carol identified the specimens, leading to Carlisle City Council issuing a temporary Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on site.

Gleeson have said that one tree will remain in place but the other will be felled to meet road allignment plans, offering an opportunity for the discovery to be re-purposed and gifted to the local community to ensure they are replanted. 

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A spokesperson from Gleeson said: "Gleeson was granted planning permission by the Planning Inspectorate to build 80 homes in summer 2021. In the Planning Inspectorate’s report, we were complimented on the sensitivity of our design in relation to its impact on the existing trees. Subsequently,  we then received a new Tree Preservation Order that covered two additional trees.  

News and Star: RARE: Distinguished leafs on the Cut Leafed Hornbeams.RARE: Distinguished leafs on the Cut Leafed Hornbeams.

"We take our stewardship of the land seriously and we worked closely with Carlisle City Council’s Tree Officer and a local landscape architect to assess how best to retain these additional trees and deliver our approved residential development.

"We agreed with all parties to update our landscaping plans to allow us to retain one of the two trees and committed to replanting more hedgerows within the site. This plan has now been approved and we are in the process of implementing our development.

"Furthermore, we have collected grafting and 12 cuttings from the tree that was to be removed and they will be cultivated by the landscape architect in a local nursery. When these new trees root, we will gift them to the local community and have them replanted," they said. 

A Carlisle City Council spokesperson added: "The Tree Preservation Order has been confirmed with a modification. One of the trees is now protected by a Tree Preservation Order and the other tree which was within the approved road alignment is no longer subject of protection. 

"We have agreed with the developer to propagate the trees so that we may ultimately be able to plant new cut leaf hornbeams locally," they said. 

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