It was decided by Councillors that as part of re-developing the Podium the current tree will be taken out and replaced by another, more suitable one. The tree was removed on Thursday 1st March 2018 and a new one will be planted as part of the re-modelling of the Podium later on in the year.
The reasons for taking the tree out at this time are that, firstly, the work would have been much more difficult if it had been left to come into leaf. Secondly, the roots damaged the Podium surface and the continuous requirement to monitor the damage and carry out running repairs proved costly, particularly when the whole surface is due to be replaced in the new build.
The Tree Preservation Order (TPO), which was placed on the tree, does allow for it to be taken down, but it is stipulated that it must be replaced with a tree species called Liquidamber which has to be semi-mature (20 to 25 cm in girth). A replacement tree is currently being sourced.
The remodelling of the Podium is still under negotiation with the Conservation department at Swindon Borough Council. The Conservation Officer is engaged in ensuring that the Town Council takes appropriate care of its Market Square, including the choice of materials and colour of surface. It is hoped this will soon be resolved.