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Green-fingered tree savers set to bring their fight to the TV

PUBLISHED: 18:29 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 12 August 2010

NATURE-LOVING campaigners who are rallying to save 140-year-old trees on a historical estate are due to feature in a television programme. An Atlas Cedar and an Oak tree are under threat from a potential buyer of Harvington Lodge estate, South Eden Par

NATURE-LOVING campaigners who are rallying to save 140-year-old trees on a historical estate are due to feature in a television programme.

An Atlas Cedar and an Oak tree are under threat from a potential buyer of Harvington Lodge estate, South Eden Park Road, Beckenham, who wants to cut them down despite protection orders placed on them.

A BBC programme, entitled The trees that made Britain, is due to be aired tomorrow, featuring the campaign group Friends of Harvington (FoH) who succeeded in temporarily saving the trees by securing tree preservation orders (TPOs) from Bromley council last July.

Chair of FoH, Wendy Gowlett, said: "They are spectacular and very old and we just can't understand why anyone would want to cut them down.

"We were ecstatic and extremely relieved when we got the TPO. They are beautiful in all weathers, whether they have some growth on them or covered in snow in the winter."

The trees lie very close to Harvington Lodge which Beckenham council bought from the Petley family in 1946 before Bromley council procured it in 1965 when the London boroughs were created.

The council accepted an offer from a potential buyer who wanted to cut the trees down because their close proximity to the lodge would cost them between £20,000 and £160,000 to secure the building.

Beckenham author and historian Pat Manning said: "We are very worried about the sale of the lodge and we don't want it to go ahead because it will probably lead to the trees being cut down. The lodge and the trees have always been an asset to the people in the surrounding areas. Any buyer will change it from what it is now."

A spokesman from Bromley council said: "We recognise that trees make a significant impact on their surroundings and tree preservation orders are one of the ways open to us to ensure that certain trees are protected. The council issued a tree preservation order at this site only last year. This means that any proposed work needs to be formally sanctioned by the council and therefore the trees have more protection than they had before.

"We have not had a formal application relating to these trees and the report about this site was not considered last week as it was withdrawn."

The trees that made Britain is on BBC2 tomorrow at 7.30pm.

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