Church priest submits plans to council to cut back trees in a bid to stop squirrels from damaging the historic building
Trees have to be chopped down at a churchyard in Hawley to prevent squirrels from damaging an historic building.
Squirrels have been foraging for food and making nests in the trees next to Holy Trinity Church in Hawley Road.
The Rev Martyn Neale, the parish priest, has submitted plans to Hart District Council to cut branches off two beech trees and two acacias to stop the wild animals from getting onto the church roof and potentially getting inside.
Father Martyn described the animals as agile and quiet but also a nuisance.
“If there are any holes on the roof, the squirrels will find them,” he said. “They can squeeze through anything and if they get inside that will be a big problem for us, especially if they reach the organ.
“Squirrels are said to chew through electrical cabling. We want to prevent them from doing this as it is a great risk for the animals.”
Father Martyn hopes the tree works are carried out this year before the winter kicks in.
“The sooner the better really,” he said. “The squirrels are lovely to look at but they are a blessed nuisance.”
It is proposed that trees, which are in a conservation area, to the east side of the church should under go the major pruning project.
The trees stand immediately behind the main chapel altars and close to the boundary fence of Hawley vicarage garden.
As part of the tree maintenance proposal, branches off a yew tree adjacent to the churchyard garage need to be clipped and a dead birch tree in the cemetery needs to be removed.
The project is estimated to cost the church around £700. Father Martyn said he would have to pay for it out of the church’s general fund.
Holy Trinity can be described as an almost perfect example of a complete Victorian Church. The present building was built in 1856, replacing the original church which was built in 1837.
The current organ was a gift from the Randell family and installed in 1873, having been delivered to Blackwater station by train.
Hart District Council is currently considering the tree proposal.