The four trees in Cavell Street Gardens in Whitechapel. Photo: Courtesy of the East London Garden Society
Four maple trees in East London are doomed to be cut down despite a local campaign to save them.
The trees in a public garden in Whitechapel will give way to a plastic kickabout area for the neighboring school.
Geoffrey Juden, chairman of the East London Garden Society, said: “Replacing trees with plastic is an absolute horror.”
Local residents commissioned their own ecology report on the four trees in Cavell Street Gardens. It turned out that they are not sick and therefore not suitable for felling – contrary to the Tower Hamlets Council ecology report, which classified them as sick.
Following the contradicting findings, the Council has given the new reason for the deforestation “improving sight lines”.
But Jews said, “This is ridiculous. There is only one building behind the trees. If you cut these trees down, you will only see the building. ”
According to Jews, consultation with local residents about the plans was too selective, adding, “Only certain people in certain buildings could be involved. It was an absolute cheek. ”
A Tower Hamlets Council spokesman said: “Between 2018 and 2020, there were several consultations, focus groups and interviews with local residents.”
Every day, each of the trees releases 60 cubic meters of oxygen into the air. The council says it plans to mitigate the loss by planting eight semi-mature trees on the site, but has yet to specify when.
The speaker continued, “These proposed replacement trees will add biodiversity value to the gardens and add color and diversity to the site.”
But the action group doubts that the trees will be planted.
Jews said, “There are 10 trees in this garden and they are putting plastic down and removing four of them. How are you going to place eight more trees in this area? It is impossible. There’s nowhere along Cavell Street to plant the trees. ”
Tower Hamlets Green Party Chairman Tim Kiely said, “I know we have members who are tough on excessive felling and aggressive pruning, including in Cavell Gardens (where I understand a number of trees) . could be obtained effectively), and they have our support. ”
It’s not the first time East London residents have had to fight for their trees. The Happy Man Tree in Hackney was felled earlier this year despite a long and highly competitive campaign by residents.
Jews said that in the Cavell Street Gardens case, residents were lucky enough to find out about the plans for the trees before they were removed.
He added, “In general, you don’t know that trees are going to be removed until it’s happened. You wake up one morning and think, ‘Where have you gone?’
“[The council] sees the trees as an obstacle to progress in this area. Local residents now feel more that trees have immediate community value. “
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