Campaign to save veteran oak tree at college site

A gold ribbon tied around the Broughton Oak at the Business and Enterprise College.where plans for a new larger hockey pitch threaten its survival
A gold ribbon tied around the Broughton Oak at the Business and Enterprise College.where plans for a new larger hockey pitch threaten its survival

A 150-year-old oak tree at a former high school could be felled if plans go ahead for a new artificial hockey pitch which would extend onto its site.

The tree, named the Broughton Oak by residents who live near Broughton Business and Enterprise College which has put in plans for the pitch, is now the emblem of their campaign to save it and is one of several mature trees threatened by the plans.

The removal of the oak - a veteran specimen rare in Lancashire which, one resident pointed out, stood long before high school or college and could not be replaced - is just one of a list of objections put to Preston City Council voicing local concerns.

Although appreciating the college always aimed to improve facilities, residents felt that, with the pitch’s 4.5m fencing and eight 15ft lighting masts, little thought had been given to local homes in a rural area.

Removal of the trees was the key environmental concern, but a main objection was over the pitch being open to the public and that ease of access to it by vehicle or on foot along a single track had been given little consideration. There could be a risk of an accident through use of the residential cul-de-sac on to the single track access.

Concerns on air pollution increase were voiced. Broughton is the most polluted area of the city and is an Air Quality Management Area as air quality is in breach of European legislation.

Residents felt opening the school site to the wider public could only aggravate ‘what is a very real but invisible public health hazard.’

Although invited to, college headteacher Chris Morris did not wish to comment on the application.