Much has been written about Rustlings Road and the battle to save its lime trees. Sadly the protesters lost that battle, but is Sheffield Council losing the war to protect its reputation?
Dore Village Society took a different tack from early summer of 2015, trying to reason and compromise with the council, letting officials at every level up to and including John Mothersole, the Chief Executive, know which modest few trees on Brinkburn Vale Road, Totley Brook Road, Chatsworth Road and Abbeydale Park Rise and the ‘Vernon Oak’ were our highest priorities for saving.
We did street walks with Amey, attended the Council’s Tree Forum meetings, mobilised a massive petition, met two successive Cabinet Members responsible for these matters and worked with the Independent Tree Panel process.
So where did our reasonable and constructive approach get us?
So far - nowhere.
The handsome limes we sought to save on Totley Brook Road have been felled and, despite support from the Independent Tree Panel for simple engineering solutions to save magnificent limes on Chatsworth Road and the much-loved mature cherries on Abbeydale Park Rise, Simon Green at the council has decided to fell them.
My conclusion: why did I advise constructive discussion with a council which has proved as obdurate in the face of reason as it has in the face of protest?
It has lost any claim to value community engagement and constructive dialogue, lost as it is behind its bunker mentality, lack of imagination, its maze of privatized contracts and its bureaucratic inefficiency.
It is sad when so many people say that they are simply ashamed of their council and how low its reputation has shrunk both here and round the country.
Christopher Pennell MBE