At the Sheffield City Council meeting of January 4, Councillor Bryan Lodge said that the memorial trees on our street, Western Road, Crookes, were ‘a special case’ that need to be looked at ‘differently’ from the trees on other Sheffield streets.
I know that I speak for other residents on our street when I say we reject this ‘special treatment’ point of view taken by the SCC’s cabinet minister for the environment.
Yes, they are special to us and we are happy that the 98-year-old trees on our street are making their contribution to cleaning polluted air, cooling streets in our globally warming world, acting as a baffle against vehicle noise, as well as giving pleasure to residents and the hundreds of schoolchildren who walk back and forth to Westways School every day.
But we do not think that they are any more special than the lovely trees in Nether Edge or Gleadless Valley or Norfolk Park which are also enjoyed by their local residents.
Or any more special than those on a street such as Oxford Street in S6 where there are also memorial trees (those ones were planted in 1917) and where a large swathe also face upcoming felling.
The fact that these Oxford Street trees have not received widespread local and national media coverage, and support by The Star, does not mean they are any less deserving of being spared a chainsaw massacre.
Coun Lodge also says that Amey will now look at so-called ‘engineering solutions’ for our road.
The term means making renovations/repairs to pavements, curbs and roadways so that trees can be saved rather than felled; that is the common solution outside Sheffield.
Again, why will an engineering solution perhaps be approved, at some expense, for our trees when it is out of the question for Chelsea Road in S11, home of a much loved 120-year-old elm tree that was recently awarded second prize as UK Tree of the Year?
The logic of this is illogical.
And talking of illogical, can the council PR machine please refrain from further use of the phrase ‘replacement trees’?
Calling the three or four metre-high saplings Amey intends to plant as ‘replacements’ for the 30 metre-high trees on our street is like calling the starting 11 for the Crookes 11-year-old football team a possible ‘replacement’ for the starting 11 of the Owls. (Or, sorry, even the Blades ha! ha!).
In my opinion, the main issue in the entire trees issue is this: why should the streets of our city be under the private control of a foreign multinational corporation for the next 25 years?
It is not which trees are ‘special’ and which are not ‘special’.