Higham Ferrers under-threat oak tree petition growing support
The tree campaigners want the 400-year-old 'Three Oaks' to be retained on account of its 'historic significance and symbolism'
Campaigners gathered yesterday under the branches of a 400-year-old landmark oak tree which is facing the threat of felling due to potential safety concerns.
It is hoped that the Save Our Oak petition, that has now reached more than 5,400 names, will be sent to Parliament in an attempt to save the tree in Station Road, Higham Ferrers.
Sarah Pearson, from Irthlingborough, who manages the Save 3 Oaks Facebook page, said: "People say 'it's just one tree' but enough is enough. I'm getting really concerned about what we are doing to this planet.
"Their [Highways England] policy on their own website states that they will adapt their road design plans to work to protect the environment. It smacks of corporate greed."
Mum Carlin Fallon signed the petition with son Noah.
Three-year-old Noah said: "They shouldn't cut it down. It would be good to keep it.
Ms Fallon added: "It's just a shame that that it's been here for 400 years. It doesn't seem in the way."
Taking part in the protest and clean-up was 49-year-old conservationist Russ Brennan from Irthlingborough.
He said: "This crease of countryside is a really important wildlife corridor. We're trying to cram nature into a smaller and smaller place.
"The tree is one piece of the environment jigsaw. It's not just the sites of special scientific interest or nature reserves. The countryside isn't just a place for a cafe and a car park."
Work is due to start on the the £24m Chowns Mill junction improvements scheme in March when environmental specialist will investigate the tree's roots system to see if they may be damaged by work to lower the road.
Higham Ferrers resident Beverley Brittin, who lives near the tree, said: "I use this road almost every day and I think there should be traffic lights. It would save a hell of a lot of money.
"It seems crazy that they're thinking of knocking down a tree that's nearby."
As campaigners held hands around the tree, some passing motorists waved, and tooted their horns in support.
Keith Coles also from Higham Ferrers, said: "There's two key points. The tree is not affecting the completion schedule and back in the 1980s the tree was in the middle of a field and they saved the tree 40 years ago."
Campaign founder, Justina Bryan added: "We're very pleased with the turnout. I hope we can get to 10, 000 signatures and fingers crossed, save the tree."