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Protest ends as Seven Dials elm felling put on hold
Campaigners have ended their tree-top protest after council officials agreed to meet to discuss alternatives to felling the historic elm.
The two activists, who had been camped out in the 150-year-old tree since Wednesday night, came down on Friday evening.
Brighton and Hove City Council officers agreed to take a look at alternative proposals and set a meeting for this Friday.
Council leader Jason Kitcat also called on residents to come forward with ideas to keep the tree while at the same time carry out the agreed works.
The elm tree, which sits on the side of the junction, was due to be chopped down as part of the Seven Dials roundabout improvements.
The council’s transport committee unanimously voted through the proposal in January after it was argued the tree obstructed views and was damaging the pavement.
However, significant public pressure, which included the support of Green MP Caroline Lucas, has persuaded officers to re-visit plans.
Tom Druitt, one of those camped in the tree’s branches, said: “We’re really pleased. If it wasn’t for the dedication of a number of people that tree would now be nothing more than logs.
"However, we can’t celebrate yet – there is still a danger.”
Keep the tree
The Argus reported that Mr Druitt had left the tree at the time of going to press on Friday.
He explained yesterday (March 10) that he had actually left the tree to set up this Friday’s meeting with officials.
He added: “We think we have covered all their concerns and presented them with a number of ideas which would make it possible to keep the tree.”
Speaking to protesters on Saturday, council leader Jason Kitcat, said: “Since then (the transport committee) there has been an outpouring of concern about the future of this tree.
“So we have paused any action which may affect this tree until March 15 and we are calling on anyone who has any ideas on how we can keep this tree as part of the safety scheme to come forward and we will consider them.”
The city has one of the largest collections of mature elms after escaping the worst of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s and has the National Collection of Elms.
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