Councillor Fox has finally confirmed that there is no significant reason to fell the trees on Rustlings Road, how else could it now come down to a ‘vote’ from the residents? So all the posturing about tree forums, panels of his ‘tree experts’, consultation, requests for alternative solutions, etc were a misleading waste of time and council money.
‘Survey’ letters have gone out to residents, but this time not in the well-marked Amey/SCC ‘Important, information affecting your Road’ envelopes as previous missives, but faceless brown windowed ‘Dear Resident’ covers looking like countless other unsolicited mail.
The letter itself sets out no unbiased information for people to make a judgment upon.
Instead, it lists a number of emotive reasons for felling that are known not to exist on Rustlings Road, and infers that felling is necessary ‘to make sure that we have a modern, safe and sustainable city that is easy to get around’.
There are confusing and contradictory definitions of what would elevate the outcome to an ‘independent’ panel, (interesting use of the word ‘independent’ when chosen by the council, who can then override its decision anyway).
And nothing to detect if people are voting to remove trees due to light, shade, driveway widths, or any of the other reasons that the council list as not acceptable excuses for felling
Importantly, it also does not tell people that today is the deadline by which to reply on line.
And while acknowledging that this needs to be changed for future such ‘surveys’ the council do not think it necessary for this flawed Rustlings Road launch.
Residents have also found that some of their neighbours have not actually received the letter, that houses in multiple occupancy have only received one letter, that some can’t get on to the voting website, that certain fields on the forms do not work and that requests for help have been met with confusion at the council.
And non-residents are not even allowed a say on the fate of the Rustlings Road trees.
Notwithstanding the petition now signed by well over 14,000 Sheffield residents, Rustlings Road is used by many hundreds on their way to and from work as well as by the countless runners, walkers and joggers who choose this as their preferred way into Sheffield’s Golden Frame or when completing the weekly Sheffield Hallam 5K parkrun.
As well as forming a part of the famous Sheffield Round Walk, the threatened trees also create the visible boundary to Endcliffe park which has been a venue for innumerable people from all over Sheffield and from all walks of life for more than 100 years.
I am sure most of your readers will have been here to the circus, the fair, the Tramlines Folk Forest, the Night Walk, Sheffield Ten10Ten run, the Parkour site, the playgrounds, the café, or one of the countless charity or other events it stages, or to just feed the ducks.
It is staggering to see Coun Fox defend this apparent attempt to circumvent the opinions of thousands of Sheffield’s voting citizens as an issue of credibility.
It is a debacle that is turning our beloved city into a laughing stock.
It needs to stop before any more irreparable damage is done.
Rustlings Road resident