THE VICAR of Shirley Parish has reassured residents that the trees at St James’ churchyard will not be cut down, following concerns after maintenance work started.
The trees have been bringing joy to the local community for almost 200 years.
They were planted between 1832, when the ‘chapel of ease’ was established, and 1843 when it became a Parish Church and Rev Thomas Nash Stephenson became the first Vicar.
Vicar of Shirley Parish, Reverend Paul Day, said, “As Shirley has grown, the churchyard at St James has remained a place of peace and beauty.
“We have a very active team of volunteers who work hard to maintain it for the benefit of all our residents – both the people of Shirley and the many birds, insects, trees and other plants which thrive here.”
Kate Crocker, deputy Warden at St James, and chair of the Parish Eco group, added: “Keeping our trees healthy and safe is an important part of what we do.
“The Stratford Road trees were pruned some years ago, and now those bordering St James Place and along Church Road, need some remedial work to make them safe and to ensure their future. We’re following the advice of our tree surgeons who have recommended that they should be pollarded.”
The work is being undertaken in two phases, with the St James’ Place trees being tended during the week commencing 3rd April 2023, and work along Church Road following as soon as possible afterwards.
Kate added: “Pollarding is a type of pruning which involves removing the upper branches of a tree, stimulating new and healthy growth of foliage and branches. It also improves safety, as old and potentially hazardous wood is removed.
“The new, healthy growth will become apparent this year, and within a couple of years the trees will be looking even more lovely than they do now.”
Rev Day said the work is essential to extend the lives of the trees.