Community trees for Worthing to replace mature oak lost to redevelopment

The mature oak tree that was lost in the redevelopment in Heene Road, Worthing. Picture: Julia Horbaschk
The mature oak tree that was lost in the redevelopment in Heene Road, Worthing. Picture: Julia Horbaschk

A campaigner who lost a battle to save a large oak tree in Worthing has succeeded in securing replacement community trees from The Woodland Trust.

Julia Horbaschk and other Heene Road residents held a peaceful protest at the former MGM building in December 2015 as redevelopment plans meant a mature oak tree would be removed.

She and her husband Mark were new to the area at the time and though they were not against the McCarthy & Stone development, they felt it was a shame the natural landmarks would be destroyed.

They were surprised by the level of support, with more than 100 people signing a petition, and that encouraged Julia to take further action for the sake of the environment.

She said: “Since loosing the beautiful tree, I have applied for an urban tree pack and been awarded 15 trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project.

“With this gift from the Woodland Trust, we hope to offset the loss in the local area and bring back some fresh tree life.

“For me, it’s about voicing your concern but then not complaining when you can’t change something but rather looking to finding new solutions and that’s what I tried to do.”

The pack will arrive in November and will include crab apple, rowan and hazel saplings, about 20cm to 60cm tall. They will be one to two years old, a good age to establish in new ground conditions, and after about eight years could reach an adult’s head height.

Julia is keeping a few trees for her neighbours and has had a few others come forward, including Sue Standing, who will be putting four or five of the crab apple trees into Heene Cemetery.

Julia said: “I am really happy that some of the trees will go into the cemetery. Also, Worthing’s head ranger, Anthony Read, will distribute the remaining trees to local green spaces, so should be great for our area.”

Launched in 2015, the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is a network of forest conservation initiatives across all 53 Commonwealth countries to mark the Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth while conserving natural habitat for future generations.