A protected oak tree in the middle of a large shopping centre “drowned” from poor drainage, a builder of the site claims.

Midsummer Place in Milton Keynes, UK opened around the great oak in 2000, but before long the tree began showing signs of stress from improper planting.

According to sources, the construction crew wrongly dug out drainage pipes when the section was built, meaning the oak tree often sat in up to two feet of stagnant water when it rained. The tree was one of two great oaks in the town of Milton Keynes, which was built in the 1960s.

This is yet another example that points up the importance of following best practice methodology when planting trees in urban areas. A public consultation on the redevelopment of the centre, including the area where the dead tree currently stands, begins this week.