Tree's reprieve?

A while back, Dllr Dean Walton got wind of a plan to fell a tree on Lewisham Way, to allow a CCTV camera in Lewisham College car park to function. He asked Brockley Central readers for some quick feedback on the plan and then raised the results (uniform condemnation) with the relevant teams within the Council, to see if a new plan could be made.

So did the protests by local residents save the tree?

Well, no.

The 12m lime tree is to be removed in the next few weeks.

As a result of the feedback though, the CCTV team have agreed to fund the planting of a replacement tree (no word what kind - most likely something considerably smaller) at the same that the lime is removed.

Reasonable compromise? Hollow victory? Unnecessary expense? Welcome response?

What do you think?

37 comments:

Amanda said...

I am not happy about the compromise. The tree should have been trimmed, yes it does mean the 'problem' would reoccur. But so what, do I concrete over my lawn because the grass will regrow after I mow it?

What is the point about us caring about global warming and pollution, if one the chief alleviators of such issues, trees, are treated with such disregard.

Lime trees can grow for hundreds of years, and they are beautiful.

Headhunter said...

It certainly seems ridiculous that a CCTV camera should have been sited in such a location (behind a tree) in the first place! Did the council or whoever is resonsible not consider all this before they put the thing there?

Tressillian James said...

Hollow victory indeed - the replacement with another tree should be automatic policy. Despite the replacement, now a beautiful row of Limes will be spoilt;the Lewisham college carpark will be more of an eye-sore; Brockley becomes one step (missing tree) closer to grey urbanity; and no one has learnt from the stupidity of placing a camera there in the first place.

Kate said...

They what? Seriously?

Perhaps we should just concrete over the whole borough.

creepylesbo said...

Why don't they just move the ruddy camera? That takes a lot less time to move than waiting for new trees to grow. Idiots. Lazy, penny-pinching idiots.

spincat said...

When trees were removed in my part of Brockley a few years ago several of the young trees put in as a replacement didn't survive the attention of vandals - a series of hot summers (despite the attention and care of local residents) also meant that some of these immature trees died. It really seesm a shame to replace a mature tree with a young and vulnerable sapling.

lb said...

I assume they didn't just move the camera because then it would, erm, no longer be a camera at the spot a camera was required (at a road junction). Replacing the existing tree with one that has a more restricted habit - at least I assume that's what they've planned on doing - seems like the best solution all round, don't you think?

As people generally haven't craned in mature trees since the days of Capability Brown, the expense being hideous (and the process being quite likely to kill the tree), I don't see that they have any choice but to put in a sapling.

Tressillian James said...

LB - please read the original posts - the camera is for security - not traffic at the road juction - and there is debate whether the camera is needed at all.

There has been no reasons given as to why the camera cannot be moved - so it is presumed to be cost.

lb said...

I did read the original post and in fact assumed that the camera was sited at the road junction because that a) gave the best coverage of the car park for the 'security' camera, and b) of the road itself for the 'traffic' camera (as the original posts seem to state there is one pole with two cameras on it). The choice of that spot can't have been arbitrary. I was answering a post saying "why didn't they move the camera"; well, as controlled tree felling is also expensive, my first thought would be that the camera would no longer be in the point they wanted it, if it was moved.

Whether the camera is necessary or not depends on your views regarding CCTV.

Brockley Jon said...

This is indeed pure stupidity. Surely a slight modification of the actual camera mounting is all that is needed - to turn it into more of a 'lampost' style overhanging camera.

Readers who don't know the camera in question, you can just about make out the stupidly placed camera here, just in the top right corner of the car park, by the house.

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all happy about this either.

About ten years ago, another "inconvenient" tree was removed from close to our flat. Despite several locals complaining, the tree was cut down and re-placed with a young sapling. Ten years later it is still a spindly little thing that never flowers or seems to grow. Do they breed them like this especially??

Kate said...

I have massive concerns about new saplings, it is really sad how often they are simply snapped and broken (presumably by anti-social wankers). The replacement of a mature tree with a new sapling is in no way satisfactory.
It might however be an appropriate substitute for certain council employees, as a young sapling probably has a greater sense of aesthetics and community spirit than most council decision-makers.

Tamsin said...

It's ridiculous. New saplings are susceptible to drought and vandalism (which will presumably be beautifully caught on the camera but no good for the tree!).

Also if its one of a series to remove it wrecks the whole concept.

It's not a compromise at all. Just the council officials being heavy handed and paying lip-service to the objectors. How stupid do they think we are?

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Yeah but...... isnt it true that a 'growing young tree' will eat up more carbon dioxide then a mature tree? There are benefits too.

Anonymous said...

Andy could you cite your source for your comment "growing young tree' will eat up more carbon dioxide then a mature tree" because I have not heard this before.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to know what the Lewisham Council Policy is for

a) Trees

b) CCTV

Otherwise, we are left guessing. Presumably there are documents to explain public policy where anyone can see them?

spincat said...

Sounds like there have been quite a number of instances of mature trees being replaced by vulnerable saplings round Brockley. Can think of several instances round my bit of Crofton Park. We should start Tree Watch

brockley mutha said...

I think the whole thing is quite stupid -seems that cutting down 'inconvenient' trees is quite a habit with lewisham council.

Anonymous said...

I work for Lewisham Council and I come with some good news.
I've just finished working on some designs of a prototype camera that looks like a young, vulnerable sapling. This 'third option' is the logical conclusion to a problem that has been bugging us down at the council for at least 2 weeks.

For anyone worried about vandalism - don't - they're actually made of steel, but you can't tell unless you actually look at them.

At 10 feet there is only a 50% chance that you may notice they're not real. Studies have shown that at 8 feet they look no worse than a rusty gate, and at 5 feet no worse than a fly tipped mattress. At 2 feet they may induce vomiting the elderly but I don't see that too much of a problem (after all there is a price to pay for our security - right?)

Unfortunately the camera's will only be on when it's not raining - and then the feed will be transmitting into a room with a sleeping man - but studies have also shown that crime doesn't happen much when it rains.

I'm going to be tackling the car parking issue next and I'm putting together a proposal to tarmac over Hilly Fields and turn it into a car park - with a cafe though you'll be pleased to hear.

Just wanted you to know that down here at the council we really do care.

Cll Dick Wad


Don't worry we're all going to be winners on this one.

Amanda said...

The other thing that bugs me about all this, is that at the other end of the scale,there is good money being allocated for the placement of trees in the locality.

I don't know...but is it within of the realms practicality to uproot that Lime tree and replace it somewhere else preferably within Brockley?
It just seems such a waste of a mature tree otherwise...

Headhunter said...

I don't think mature trees take very kindly to being uprooted from the spot they have grown in for decades so I doubt that is an option. Remember a tree is a bit like an iceberg in that what you see above ground is likely to be smaller than all the roots it has developed below ground. Trying to move a mature tree would most likely be very expensive and there would be no guarantee of it surviving.

Personally I think we should chain ourselves to the tree, or perhaps do what they did on Twyford Down and set up a permanent treehouse so they can't chop it down. When they arrive we should lie in front of any council vehicle that comes. Who's in?

Amanda said...

I'm prepared to do the next best thing... drafting of a letter, or is it already too late for that?

There's a good few points in this and the previous thread that could be raised. I don't believe that the compromise is the best solution to this issue, based on all the factors raised in these threads alone.

Kate said...

I think this is totally ridiculous and would be up for any form of action possible. How about a little demo by the tree, to start with? A lot of the people using that car park won't know of these plans.

Perhaps the local papers might be interested, should someone tell them?

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

Why dont we all chain ourselves to the tree?!!!

Tressillian James said...

I'm up for attending a protest...might not chain myself to it though...

lb said...

I've just had a look at the camera, and tree (I live very close by and am having a day off), and indeed the other cameras on that stretch. As I'm a resident I thought I'd a least take an interest.

My first thought is: I can't see how they could have moved the camera. Moving it one way would have meant placing it directly in front of private residences, which would probably have caused serious objections. Moving it westwards wouldn't eradicate the problem either, as there are more trees there - the same technical issue would likely occur. If they want to have a camera covering that section of the road at all, it really has to be there.

My second thought was that the trees themselves (most of which seem to be London Planes, rather than lime trees, incidentally) are not of especially outstanding appearance in the context of the area, and one could just as well be replaced by a tree with a more restricted habit. There are plenty of attractive trees to choose from.

In short, I think that the council have made a reasonable compromise. It's not 'lip service'; it's shown that they have actually listened to the complaint. I sometimes deal with local government 'decision makers' in the course of my job, and whatever you may think, a lot of them are reasonable and competent people who do genuinely listen to complaints. Unfortunately they have to be accountable to a wide range of members of the public - often with wildly conflicting opinions - and of councillors who are bound to represent these opinions. It was originally stated that there had been complaints that the camera was switched off; if this was so, they've acted to respond to both these complaints and try and accommodate everyone else's opinion too. By all means, go and chain yourself to the tree if you want, but I personally think that you've already achieved some measure of change and that there are more important things to direct your energies into.

Note that I'm not trying to claim that CCTV 'works' or is needed (ask the police and they'll often say that its effectiveness is more in improving conviction rates rather than any deterrent effect).

Anonymous said...

It's always nice to have someone playing Devil's Advocate - and it's also nice that you are consistent in your battle against gentrification lb.

Perhaps...perhaps .. the camera doesn't really need to be there anyway? Is it for security? if it is for the carpark there are plenty of places to move it too. If it is for monitoring the pavement on Lewisham Way....well it's hardly a crime hotspot.

Ding ding....

lb said...

anonymous, the number of people on here alone who regularly state that Lewisham Way "isn't very nice", especially getting along towards the Memorial, shows that there is a perception that the area isn't as safe as it could be.

As for just 'monitoring the pavement'; have you considered it might be for monitoring the road itself as well? It's a main arterial route for the area and plenty of stuff happens along there. Clearly the Council are prepared to listen, as I stated; see the most recent post on this site.

I'm hardly playing Devil's Advocate, and my views are entirely consistent thanks.

Anonymous said...

at the risk of stirring up a hornet's nest..what sort of 'stuff'happens on Lewisham Way, apart from traffic. I've lived here 5 years and that stretch of road and pavement is just fine. LB you need to be specific - what is the cctv protecting us from? If it is just to monitor traffic flows or density, then I'm fighting for trees. If it is to protect or safeguard us from some crime - then I want to know what crime. When does it happen. How often has it happened.

lb said...

[anonymous]Frankly I've no idea exactly what they use it for. If its primary purpose is monitoring traffic, well, I'm not surprised they chose to put cameras along there as it's very busy, often has very slow-moving traffic, and has a very large number of pedestrian crossings. The cameras themselves all seem to be placed at or opposite road junctions, incidentally.

If it's crime, then there is a clear perception Lewisham Way isn't very safe, judging by the comments on this site alone (e.g. "Personally, I find Lewisham Way the most threatening part of Brockley", on another thread; I expect these are also representative of comments made to the police or to councillors). I usually feel fairly safe along there, but some people clearly don't, and the council also has a duty to take account of their desire for a functioning camera.

As I said, I think the offer of replacing the tree with one of smaller habit is a reasonable compromise under the circumstances, and shows that they're willing to listen (in addition, those grumbling about 'penny pinching' would do well to remember that those pennies come out of their council tax, ultimately).

If you want to see nice trees, just go and look at the ilex in St Johns church grounds; now that's really a tree.

Anonymous said...

LB - thanks for the answer - confirmed everything.

fabhat said...

another tree down today - one of the trees outside the 50's block at the ashby/geoffrey road end of Wickham is being chopped down...it certainly didn't look like it was dangerous/dead previously. I hope they don't go for the two silver birches that flank it next...
on a positive note - even in the rain isn't it lovely to have all the trees in leaf again!

Tom said...

There's a dodgy geezer begging on Lewisham Way at the minute.

He (and a couple of mates) hangs around the corner of Lewisham Way and Malpas Road late at night asking for money using a range of different, lame excuses.

He's identifiable cos he's got a broken front tooth and he usually runs up to you, forcing you to deal with him.

I wouldn't usually worry too much, but the last time he asked me for cash it was late at night (2am), there was no-one around and he was extremely insistent, verging on aggressive.

Anonymous said...

This guy is known to the police. He has approached & harassed my partner a couple of times. If you can, you should try phoning the police, as they may be able to respond. A few months ago, someone tried to snatch my handbag, and when I reported it to the police (who where excellent, on this occasion) they took special interest in my incident because they were trying to link it to the character you describe. (in my case, it was actually a different guy). My point is, there's a small team of street-crime people in Lewisham who would be glad to have info on this guy.

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of agressive beggars harrassing people on Brockley Rd around Moonbows. Usually late at night they proclaim themselves to be homeless despite looking clean and tidy. They collect change and head for the off license. If you don't cough up they mutter threats. I suspect they are living locally in some hostel and venture out in the evenings to extract their tithes anyone who happens to be on the street.

Headhunter said...

I got hassled by some bloke begging a while back by St Johns station who started to get a bit aggressive before giving up. they're probably denizens of the conservation area institutions/hostels

Anonymous said...

No doubt their interests are being looked after as part of the anti-bookies group.

(Not that I want a bookies)

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