It’s time for common sense

Hangingwater Road
Hangingwater Road
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More than 10,000 people who signed the Rustlings Road petition would not agree with Alan Heath’s letter (Tree row: it’s time for common sense, Letters, June 29), with its reference to “ridiculous and emotive headlines” about the proposed fellings – indeed many of the 10,000 would say that it’s a good indicator of what is happening around Sheffield.

Amey/Sheffield CC seem to be using the pretext of kerbs being slightly out of line and small undulations in pavements to justify felling healthy trees and replacing them with saplings which will take 40 years to even begin to look like the current street scene. No wonder there are emotive headlines.

The puzzle is why more people aren’t upset by what is happening to the trees in our city, in our name, by our council and its contractors.

The whole point of the Rustlings Road campaign is that of the trees listed for felling only one is diseased – the other 10, Amey say, are healthy but are being condemned by Amey/Streets Ahead because there is some kerb or pavement displacement – but kerb or pavement displacement which could be overcome by engineering solutions at relatively low cost.

We have around 36,000 street trees in Sheffield with the majority being described as mature or over mature and the Council appear to be making use of the core five-year Streets Ahead road and pavement renewal programme to telescope a tree management programme which should be spread over about 20 or 30 years. The five-year core pavement renewal programme is incompatible with a 20- to 30-year tree renewal programme. The tree programme should be replanned and spread over the full 25-year Streets Ahead contract.

Mr Heath seems to think that the 11 or 12 mature trees being felled on Rustlings Road will be soon adequately replaced by saplings. No it will not. Indeed a photograph of Rustlings Road in the early 1900s ( find it on www.picturesheffield.com ref. s19205 and others) shows trees every 10 yards or so all the way from the Ecclesall Road junction. Many of them have disappeared over the years and not been replaced by the council. Rustlings Road does not look as was intended by the designers. It certainly should not be allowed to get any poorer.

I believe the road was intended to look rather like Psalter Lane does from Sharrow Head to Kingfield Road. Go and look at Psalter Lane and see what you are missing, and imagine a third of it gone!

At a time when schools are being closed in Tinsley due to air pollution it’s rather condescending of Mr Heath to say “After yet more over the top reactions to the planned felling...” Trees matter. Every tree matters.

Mr Heath mentions Hangingwater Road in his letter – replacements have improved road safety but have done anything BUT improve the vista along the road.

I heard some residents were not in favour of the felling and are not pleased with the results. As far as I can tell the main beneficiaries are the commuters who can now drive faster along there – I suppose when there’s a road accident due to speeding it’ll be the trees’ fault because they’re no longer there to slow drivers down.

A picture is below of Hangingwater Road as it was in 2006. The trees have gone now. The saplings will take many years to reach half their size.

Yes, let’s keep it in perspective and yes let’s use our common sense – save our trees unless there is an overwhelming reason to fell them and let’s have meaningful consultation before those decisions are made.

JW

Greystones