THE felling of several mature oak trees in Greytown's historic precinct has angered some leading residents in the town.

The three mature trees previously stood on the boundary of Arbor House, and a Main St property earmarked for a new Fire Service building.

Arbor House Trust Board chairman Rob Tuckett said it had been a mutual decision between the rest home and the Fire Service to remove the trees, which came down last Friday.

"This has been pending for a long time," Mr Tuckett said. "Our situation was that they were so close to Arbor House, they were filling up the guttering."


For many years the trees had been "getting bigger and bigger and growing over the building".

"For a long time they have been a problem," Mr Tuckett said. He had called South Wairarapa District Council to find out if the trees were protected in the district plan. There was a protection order on a weeping elm, which was touching the building.

The council granted permission for the elm to be pruned.

However, the other three trees, oaks in line beside the elm, were not protected.

"The fire brigade was just as pleased as we were to see them gone. One was impinging on the power line and was close to the road -- it had to go."

To determine what to do with the cut oaks, Mr Tuckett had consulted a furniture maker, "who said they were not of a quality where we would get valuable timber out of the trunks".

Mr Tuckett said the trees would be chopped up and sold as firewood, with proceeds split between Arbor House and Greytown Lions.

He thought the trees were 30 to 40 years old.

But that has been disputed by Greytown man Les Pope, 90, who has been a resident of the town since 1940.

Mr Pope said the oaks were "probably 80 or 90 years old".

"An oak is something that takes years to grow. As far as I'm concerned, to see these oak trees chopped up into pieces is a criminal act."

Greytown Community Board member Ian Farley said he was "disappointed" to learn the oaks had been chopped down.

"I don't know exactly how old the trees are but I'm in my 40s and they have always been there since I was a kid. They were huge, significant trees."

Mr Farley said he was concerned "all the big trees in the town are going to go, and they are not going to be replaced".

"I'm disappointed because it's another big tree gone."

South Wairarapa District Council planning and environment manager Murray Buchanan said although the trees were within the historic precinct, trees were not covered by the precinct provisions, which only related to buildings.

"There are separate rules in the district plan relating to trees," he said.

"From a regulatory side of things, we can't intervene if they are not protected in the district plan."

Mr Buchanan said not all notable trees were listed.

He said this year the council would "be doing more work to identify those trees and add them" to the schedule.