A detailed inspection of a prominent Lombardy poplar in Gostrey Meadow has revealed that the "over-mature" tree needs to be felled for safety reasons, says Farnham Town Council.

The work will take place on Thursday, January 11 and will involve a partial closure of Union Road between 10am and 4pm. The playground in Gostrey Meadow and some of the surrounding areas will also be closed.

It is the last remaining Lombardy in the meadow after a previous specimen was felled in 2016, and is thought to be one of Farnham's tallest trees.

Farnham Town Council agreed it should be felled in November after resistograph tests showed it to be over mature and failing, and could “fall at any time”, posing a risk to neighbouring properties.

Another Lombardy poplar in Haren Garden, on the opposite site of South Street, is also to be felled for the same reason at a date to be confirmed.

Councillor Mat Brown, the town council's lead member for environment, said: “Lombardy poplars are well known for decaying from the middle of the tree outwards.

"It is a shame that that the tree has to be removed but safety is our priority and has to come first.”

As part of an ongoing management programme of Farnham’s green spaces, over the past two years, Farnham Town Council has planted nearly 400 trees.

This includes the Jubilee Avenue along Farnham Riverside to mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

A replacement tree will be planted near the site of the Lombardy poplar.

Farnham residents expressed mixed views on the council's decision to fell the Lombardy poplar at Gostrey Meadow after it was first announced in November.

Responding to the Herald's article on Facebook, Mark Voller questioned the need for its removal, stating: "If it survived the recent strong winds it's probably fine."

Hannah Louise Davison lamented the prioritisation of human safety, saying "nature takes second place yet again". While Shane Langrish emphasised the importance of trees, saying: "We are more important than trees, yet without trees we wouldn't be here."

Martin Skilton suggests trimming the poplar instead of removal, calling the council's decision an "over-reaction".

Ralph Biden proposed supporting it with cables, and Chrissy Bailey reminisced about the tree's sentimental value, stating: "It's not just a tree... it's part of our childhood/long term memories."

Chrissy Bailey also emphasises the sentimental value of the tree, stating: "A tree is never just a tree. They can hold all sorts of memories to different people."

But Jonathan Durham explained "once the trees have the virus they have no chance" and safety concerns were expressed by Julie Black, who said: "Better than it coming down on pedestrians or vehicles."

This was echoed by Farnham Park ranger Nick MacFarlane, who also called out people's hypocrisy, saying: "Diagnostics proved it was unsafe they were right to fell it. Unlike the Christmas tree in the Lion and Lamb cut down in its prime that no one's mourning."