Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Local trees being chopped down, inadequate recycling and extension of Kelly's pub licensing hours

Over the last week, I've received a number of emails from readers on a variety of hyper-local topics that don't quite warrant posts of their own, so here's a quick summary:

Firstly, one resident has noted that Lambeth Council are being rather heavy handed in their removal of trees in SE11.  I've been informed that two trees have already been culled from Chester Street / Denny Street.  I could only find one of them (or its remains, at any rate).  What a mess!

Alarmingly, another two trees are scheduled for removal shortly, and yet all of the trees that have been chopped (or are facing the chop) look healthy.  Here are the two concerned (left on Denny Street and right on Chester Street):

The resident in question has contacted the council, but wanted me to publicise the danger that the trigger-happy council pose to the trees.  A visit this evening yielded more info on  the tree on Chester Way and it seems that some of the residents are protesting the cull:

The poster on the left points out that it would take two decades to grow another cherry tree, and adds that the tree is being destroyed on the basis that the trees roots are exposed and it therefore may form a danger.  Is this not a "Health & Safety gone mad" blooper of the year?  The poster designer has instead suggested that it would be better to raise the pavement than destroy the tree.  Hear, hear!

This is probably a question for the Princes Ward councillors, but it would be good to receive clarification about the reasons for the tree removal. Perhaps additional residents need to act to prevent the removal of established trees if the only reason for cutting them down is exposed roots.  The tree on Denny Street doesn't contain an explanation about why it's facing the chop:

This issue probably should  be drawn to the attention of the Kennington Association, as there may well be other local trees that Lambeth wish to cut down, and residents deserve some prior warning or explanation in order to protest if necessary.

Secondly, one reader has noted that I've previously praised Lambeth Council's recycling procedures and good performance in the area of recycling.  The correspondent begs to differ and is unhappy with the frequency which which the one bin on his block is emptied.  (Recycling collections generally take place weekly in Lambeth).  The reader has attempted to get his block's bin emptied more frequently, but has had no success.  Cllr Jack Hopkins (so I'm assuming this refers to Oval Ward) did respond to one email from the correspondent, but subsequent emails on the matter have not received a response.  Does anybody else on local estates in the area suffer from the same issue?  I know that many estates suffer from people using recycling bins as rubbish bins (I'm unclear if this is lack of understanding of policy or willful misuse), but are there a dearth of recycling bins in the Borough, particularly given the size of some local estates?  It would be good to draw this to the attention of the Council if it's a wider problem.

Lastly, one reader wanted to highlight their objection to a request made by Kelly's Pub (in Clapham Road) to extend their opening hours to 5am from Thursday to Sunday.  I don't intend to go into detail here (suffice to say that the request seems wholly unreasonable), since Jason Cobb has covered that patch of SW8 adequately on his Onionbag blog in a post here and another here.  Do remember to submit objections since the Council won't hear residents' voices otherwise.


Mark Harrison said...

Yes, we've heard about both these trees.

Denny Street's tree was infected with fungus so had to be chopped down.

Chester Way's tree's roots are lifting the pavement. Residents have protested and we have supported them - the tree removal is on hold and highways are now looking at alternatives such as whether it's possible to raise the pavement over the roots.

Re recycling on estates - the green recycling bins are emptied once a week. If they are filling up too quickly it is easy to order additional bins - just email streetcare or email your councillors ( )

SE11 Lurker said...


Thanks for your prompt response as usual. There are two trees to be cut down, one in Chester Way that you noted is on hold, but there's another one in Denny Street (photographed next to the street sign). Is that one due to be cut down as well?

I've written back to the correspondent to recommend they contact you or Cllr Jane Edbrooke re. the recycling matter, since your responses are usually prompt, but I do recall somebody on an estate leaving a comment some time ago to say that recycling on estates doesn't work well. It might be something that needs looking into further.

Anonymous said...

Not quite SE11 but what do you think of this

that big tree they say had fungal, looked like it was lifting the house next too it....massive tree, shame it is gone.!

Mark Harrison said...

Hadn't heard about the other tree in Denny St. Does it have a notice on it?

The recycling situation on estates isn't ideal. In an ideal world we'd have two rubbish chutes in every block but that will cost a fortune to achieve. At the moment we can always order more bins if the current ones aren't sufficient - they're usually very responsive if we ask them. Recently the Council gave out sturdy big recycling collection sacks to each flat which does make collection easier.

Sid Boggle said...

If trees are going to be chopped down to help keep footpaths level, then the whole of Denny Street could soon be denuded.

Recycling awareness on Kennings Estate is getting better, but as well as the contamination of the bins (some tenants and residents simply don't buy into recycling), it seems we are sharing bins with Penwith Manor (EMB?), and we also see orange sacks piled up over the course of a week. Since we don't get issued with sacks, I assume householders are dumping their recyclable waste on our estate to prevent accumulation between collections in their own homes. It's also possible to sometimes see recycling 'tourists', who come onto the estate to dump their empty bottles etc.

Duchy Original said...

I emailed the Princes Ward councillors to ask about these trees and in particular to clarify the status of the tree on the corner of Chester Way and Denny Street. The response I received explicitly states that the removal of both trees is on hold.

Kathrin said...

Yay! thanks for the post SE11 Lurker and the piccies. You're more organised than me - despite living there I forgot my camera.
the other tree that I referred to on Chester Way that had gone was on the corner, actually within a garden of a block of flats. I assumed this was perhaps not a council matter so didn't bring it up at the time. But overall it means big trees are going, and should be something the council bear in mind.
As regards an uneven pavement: um, pavements aren't even at the best of times, trees or not!!!

Kathrin said...

I have received a reply from the various councillors I harassed so I thought I would share it with you:

Dear Cllr Morgan and Councillor Campbell

You have both made an enquiry on the same subject, and my thanks for your interest and vigilance on the issue of the proposed removal of the Cherry Tree outside 9 Chester Way and another at the junction with Denny Street; there have been a number of concerns from the public and our trees service has spent some time investigating this case.

Our trees service received a request from the council’s Highways engineers to remove both the tree outside 9 Chester Way, and subsequently and second request to remove another tree at the junction of Chester Way and Denny Street, to allow repairs to the pavement. Both these trees have caused extensive root damage leading to trip hazards on the pavement; such trips hazards may lead to injury and claims being made against the council if not addressed.

Where a street tree removal is proposed, for any reason other than emergencies, we will carry out public consultation by posting a notice on the tree informing residents of the intention to fell the tree. Following the notice, the service received a number of objections (in addition to yours) to the removal of both these trees; therefore we have asked Highways engineers to explore other solutions for repairing the pavement that will allow these trees to be retained.

Work is currently being carried out to assess the feasibility of an engineered solution and as soon as I have an update, I will share this with you; right now the trees have a stay of execution and ideally the trees service would like to make this permanent but we await the engineers report.

In this currently challenging economic environment, officers are conscious that residents place an even higher importance on their trees and the green environment as an important contribution to the mental, physical and social health and well being; therefore the removal of a tree is a decision only ever taken as a last resort. Our discussions with Highways are continuing to find a solution and soon as I have one I will share?

Kind regards

Byron Miller

Interim Head of Service - Parks, Greenspaces, Cemeteries and Registrar

Duchy Original said...

Here's the latest on the tree at the corner of Denny Street and Chester way. Not good news unfortunately (via Cllr Lorna Campbell):

Apologies for not getting back to yiou before now. Please see response to my enquiry below:

As you note the other tree in Chester Way was saved because the Highways Division found a way to build a ramp around it, thereby removing the risk of pedestrian’s tripping and falling.

The cherry tree, however, at the junction of Denny and Chester, according to the engineers cannot be ramped within reasonable cost and would remain a hazard and therefore an injury risk to the public – Section 154 of the Highways Act clearly states the Council’s responsibility regarding public safety. Officers are therefore obligated to remove this tree at the earliest possible time – this removal order has been placed with our trees contractors and will be carried out ASAP.

Our Trees Officers (and our parks officers) really love their jobs and the communities that they work in, they are always environmentally conscious; therefore removing a tree is a last and difficult decision, particularly a unique tree with a high environmental and aesthetic value. On the positive side, the site has been immediately earmarked for a replacement cherry tree before the end of March; this will hopefully retain the local environmental ambience and aesthetic value.

I know that of course you would want the tree to remain but at least a replacement is scheduled.

Duchy Original said...

The tree on the corner of Denny Street and Chester Way has been chopped down today.

Kathrin said...

argh! how can they do that without any notification!!!

Duchy Original said...

The spot where the Denny Street / Chester Way tree used to be has just been completely paved over, despite the council's assurances that a replacement tree would be planted ("On the positive side, the site has been immediately earmarked for a replacement cherry tree before the end of March; this will hopefully retain the local environmental ambience and aesthetic value.").

I a have sought an explanation from Lorna Campbell.

Duchy Original said...

Panic over, a new tree is still planned. Here's what Cllr Campbell had to say:

"Many thanks for the further enquiry on this. I understand your concern but I’ve checked this with the Trees Section and the Highways Division and I am informed that Transport and Highways contractors placed tarmac over the pit to prevent a trip hazard."

"It has been confirmed that the tree will be replanted but they have to mark the sites for planting in the Princes Ward; the schedule is to mark and plant around mid to late March."

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