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Last London plane tree to be removed from Lewisham street


By Francesca Casonato, Local Democracy Reporter

Residents are opposing the council’s decision to cut down the last London plane tree on their street.

Families gathered in Senlac Road, Lewisham, to stop a lorry from felling a 70-years-old plane tree in June.

An online petition to save the tree, has reached more than 30.000 signatures.

Anna Moore, a mother of four living near Senlac Road, organised the petition.

The respiratory doctor said: “When they came to take the tree down, we arrived to stop them.

Children drew pictures and put them on the tree, trying to protect it. In the end, they went away and the issue was discussed at the council level.

“Our health is linked to green spaces. Maybe the loss of one tree will not have a huge impact, but it’s part of a bigger trend.

If we continue to lose our green lungs, we will impact our health.”

Isobel Clift, mother of two, said: “I have asthma and my oldest son has had wheezing episodes, so for me it is very important that the air he’s breathing is clean.

Last London plane tree to be removed from Lewisham street
Residents are opposing the council’s decision to cut down the last London plane tree on their street

Me and my children want to promote a habitat for wildlife in our garden, and the plane tree is so close to our house that we see it as an extension of that.”

According to the residents, Senlac Road has seen other old trees disappear in the past years.

Sophie Cooper, a 11-year-old girl who lives in the neighbourhood, wrote a letter to the council back in 2019, after they cut down her favourite tree.

She said about the felling of the last plane tree: “It is the last remaining mature tree on our road. It is beautiful and I really do not want yet another healthy tree being cut down.”

Lewisham council officers have said they are determined to proceed with the felling, although there is not an official date for the removal yet.

They say the felling of the tree in Senlac Road is long overdue, since they received a report of subsidence by the property owner in 2011. they have offered to replace it by planting other trees, though.

But  Sophie said: “I don’t believe them, because the last time I complained about the tree they cut down on Senlac Road, they promised they would let me choose another one to replace it. And they never did.

“Actions speak louder than words. They have said for years they would replant trees and they haven’t, so why should we believe them?”

A Lewisham council spokesman said: “Despite the best efforts of our Tree Services team, the council has been left with no option but to remove a plane tree implicated in subsidence of a nearby property in Senlac Road.

“We will be planting two new trees in Senlac Road to compensate for the loss of this tree and will be working with the residents to select the species of these.”

 

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