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messageFelling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Brian up the hill August 05, 10:25AM

There is a proposal by Southwark Council to fell two mature oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood. They are on the western (Dulwich) side of the Cox's Walk footbridge. The reason given is that major repairs can be carried out to the bridge's abutments and the bridge itself. Although there is no doubt that these repairs are necessary, the question arises as to why the trees need to be cut down. It would seem that the bridge was rebuilt in the 1980s when the trees were already mature, so it is doubtful that they are the cause of the damage to the structure. Extensive root ingress by ivy seems more likely to be the cause. Removing the trees could cause heave to destabilise the cutting slope as water which would have been take up by the trees, remains in the soil. Furthermore, the main reason for removing the trees would seem to be allow easier access for Southwark Highways Department, an issue which did not seem to prevent the rebuilding works in the eighties. Oaks are vital to the woodland ecosystem, especially mature oaks like these. Surely a more ecologically sound way could be devised of making the repairs, without felling two important trees like these?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Angelina August 05, 10:46AM

I agree that they should remain.
Southwark have a record of being too quick to cut down treees so I would be more than happy to provide any support

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by se22cat August 05, 12:25PM

Although I am entirely ignorant towards any reasoning why the trees are being earmarked for felling, it angers and frustrates me that, as Angelina says, the council seem to have an awful history with regards to felling, rather than trying to save trees. I absolutely adore the trees in the wood, especially the oaks and hope in the very least a second opinion is sought before we lose them.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by david_carnell August 05, 01:48PM

Would this not be a matter for the London Wildlife Trust rather than the council?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Angelina August 05, 02:35PM

you would have thought, but the council don't seem to care much about trees - and the risk is they will be felled without a full understanding or discussion.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by kiera August 05, 02:55PM

The decision to fell is the council's. The planning application which was open for objections was last year. The London Wildlife Trust objected at the time. Most people probably didn't know anything about it until after the council had given themselves permission to fell the two mature and healthy oak trees. [planning.southwark.gov.uk]

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Jules-and-Boo August 05, 03:14PM

does that mean there is no time to appeal?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Penguin68 August 05, 04:34PM

...and once again I ask, can you trust the council? And once again a thread gives the obvious answer...

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Zig-Zag August 05, 06:01PM

And no chance of ever getting rid of this loathsome ignorant Council as the voting numbers politically will never change, so they are free to do whatever they like. How sad they are once again slyly killing beautiful old trees. So depressing

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by mikeb August 06, 09:33AM

Slightly off-topic but I noticed a number of recent sizeable trees felled on on the outer path in Dulwich Park when I was running round at the weekend.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by bob August 06, 04:00PM

Can't you obtain some sort of preservation order to stop this.
Bob S

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Penguin68 August 06, 04:05PM

Tree Preservation Orders are issued by the local council who can also over rule them. What are your guesses about what will happen?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by savvygirl August 06, 06:29PM

Perhaps The Woodland Trust should be made aware. It needs proper inspection and investigation by a structural engineer before such drastic steps are taken. Felling two mature oak trees in my book is a crime and if possible an alternative solution should be sought.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by bob August 06, 06:52PM

P68 I wonder???

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by seenbeen August 06, 09:59PM

Penguin68 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tree Preservation Orders are issued by the local
> council who can also over rule them. What are your
> guesses about what will happen?

nothing short of vandalism imo

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by bob August 06, 10:57PM

Agree
Bob S

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Penguin68 August 07, 08:31AM

Petition against this

[you.38degrees.org.uk]

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by first mate August 07, 09:09AM

How does this fit with Southwark's alleged commitment to greener, healthier streets, lowering pollution etc...etc...?

You really cannot trust them.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Brian up the hill August 07, 08:11PM

Thanks to Penguin68 for the petition link.
Yes, Kiera is right about the London Wildlife Trust objecting. It is worth remembering that LWT is a charity and is responsible for everyday management of the wood, including the mundane tasks like litter picking and dealing with dog mess as well as making the paths safer and mitigating excessive mud by building new paths and boardwalks. To do this, it relies on unpaid volunteers to give their time and efforts freely.
As they abut a public right of way. ie Cox's Walk, the trees are earmarked for felling by Southwark Highways Department. The issue is not that the bridge needs to be repaired, it does. Also it is an historical landmark due to its link with Pissarro. The issue is that the trees do not seem to be the direct cause of structural damage and they could be retained, especially as they form an important aesthetic grouping as sentinels for the bridge. Furthermore, their removal will have a dramatic effect on the balance of groundwater in the immediate area. Ground stabilty could be affected as it adjusts to the increased weight and pressure of water which otherwise would have been taken up by the trees and released back into the atmosphere as transpiration.
There should be a way to rebuild the abutments without removing the trees.
If you agree, please sign the petition as linked above if you have not done so already.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by ab29 August 07, 10:43PM

Can everyone please sign the petition - there aren't many signatures.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by hpsaucey August 07, 11:09PM

Signed

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by doody August 11, 12:12AM

Is it possible to post some information at the site? There is a noticeboard there, for example. And maybe volunteers could leaflet people at approach to woods, to encourage to sign petition and also write to Southwark Council?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Pugwash August 11, 04:56PM

I have always found Southwark News keen to report on local stories/concerns.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by EPB August 11, 07:02PM

Signed.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by MarkT August 11, 08:44PM

The link to the planning application given above by Kiera (Aug 5th) now leads nowhere:

"Planning Application details not available
This application is no longer available for viewing. It may have been removed or restricted from public viewing"

Surely that is out of order, as the matter is still live - at least while the oak trees are.

Was the decision to remove the trees taken by a planning officer or by planning committee? Are there particular rules governing a planning decision by the Council on a Council project? and were those rules properly followed?
MarkT

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by doody August 11, 09:18PM

I have now written to Andy Simmons about this. Perhaps others may also wish to write to their local councillors?

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by kiera August 11, 09:20PM

As there were only three objections it was not referred to a planning committee -the decision was made by an officer.
The Dulwich Hamlet/Greendale thread also reports that Southwark's planning website is down - since Friday apparently.

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by MarkT August 11, 10:38PM

Southwark's Constitution does indeed have a general threshold of 5 objections for decision by the Planning Committee. They have increased this threshold over years while simultaneously reducing their requirement for notifying potentially interested parties. As Kiera pointed out above:
"Most people probably didn't know anything about it until after the council had given themselves permission to fell the two mature and healthy oak trees."

Surely the objection from the London Wildlife Trust should have been given some weight, not just 1 of 3 objections.

Southwark's Constitution includes in the Planning Sub-Committee's duties:
"To consider the confirmation of tree preservation orders which are the subject of a sustained objection (a “sustained objection” is defined as an objection that is maintained despite an attempt by officer to resolve it, or which officer consider incapable of resolution by negotiation)"

Did the objectors accept the decision to destroy these trees? If not then the matter should have been decided by the Planning Sub-Committee.

The Planning Committee must also consider:
"applications for the council’s own developments which are controversial, i.e. subject to 5 or more relevant objections"

By limiting the publicity, of course, the Council kept down the number of objections, but it is undoubtedly the council's own development, and is by any other definition "controversial".

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by Countrlass22 August 12, 03:31PM

Signed petition

messageRe: Felling of oak trees in Sydenham Hill Wood
Posted by first mate August 13, 08:11AM

486 signatures so far. Please sign. This is important!!

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