As an arboriculturalist who enjoys flicking through his colleagues' AJ I was interested to see a feature about a 'green' school design (AJ 25.1.01) with a 'major/ancient tree as a focal point, resource and school symbol'.
As I took in the proximity of structures and possible groundlevel changes to trees, dark clouds began to gather as I thought of my own experiences where trees are retained but often destroyed due to a lack of understanding of how the proposals will affect them. This is a result of not obtaining arboricultural advice early enough in the design stage. How many readers would know that raising the levels around a tree can be as damaging as severing its roots?
The same issue featured Frensham Heights School, an attractive building near what appeared to be a line of oak trees in early maturity. The article said that pile foundations had protected the trees.
The sparse crown and dieback must just be coincidence.