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St Mary’s Priory Church tree axed

A TREE in the grounds of a church in a conservation area is to be felled due to works to address an ongoing pollution incident. 

Wastewater from St Mary’s Priory Church and its associated buildings in Priory Street, Monmouth, has been discharging into a surface water drain but plans have been agreed to ensure the water is instead connected to the foul sewer. 

Environmental body Natural Resources Wales has said works to correct the existing drainage system defects should “represent an improvement on the amount of phosphorus and other pollutants currently entering the River Monnow”. 

Though most of the work will be underground a Lawson Cypress tree will have to be removed. The church grounds form part of the Monmouth Conservation area and the tree, which is described as of “moderate value” in a tree report, is considered “visually prominent” in the protected area. 

St Mary’s is a Grade II-listed building and Monmouthshire County Council, which has approved the plans, has recommended a replacement tree is planted within the site. 

A report by council planning officer David Wong states the application should be approved on the balance of its wider benefits: “Both the council’s heritage management and tree officers recognised that the loss of a Lawson Cypress is regrettable. However, the proposal is corrective works to address a recent pollution event.”