December 12 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Park rangers and tree surgeons were today battling against time to get Ipswich’s best-known park open in time for one of the largest events of the year.
Christchurch Park has been closed since Monday’s storm – which lefts dozens of trees damaged.
The town’s main Fireworks display is due to take place in the park on Saturday night, and while officers are hopeful of completing the clear-up by then, there is still much to do.
The park could re-open tomorrow, but they insist it will only reopen when they are confident all the trees are safe – especially as the display takes place in darkness.
Few trees were completely blown over in the gales, but several had branches – some quite substantial – blown down.
A lime tree on the main path through the park will have to be completely removed after its top blew over.
However the future for a 160-year-old oak near the play area looks more positive.
Arboricultural officer Andy Whalley said: “This is a fairly young oak. We shall check it out, but it will be allowed to progress to veteran status with managed development.”
None of the parks “veteran” trees had suffered substantial damage – an oak can live as long as 900 years. Mr Whalley added: “I’ve heard it say that an oak can grow for 300 years, live for 300 years, and die for 300 years!”
The park was closed for a month after the 1987 storm – this year the damage is not on that scale.
Some of the debris will be mulched, some sold as firewood, and some of the larger pieces could be donated to Suffolk New College to be used by woodcarving students.
Efforts are being concentrated on Christchurch Park which should re-open tomorrow – with other parks due to open their gates at the weekend.