Chainsaw crew arrives at Sheffield community garden
A chainsaw crew began to cut trees at the Cobden View community garden in Crookes this afternoon (June 16), attracting the attention of residents opposed to the development of the popular green space.
The land has been at the centre of controversy since it was bought, boarded up and marked for development in spite of protests over its value as a community space, wildlife habitat and public right of way.
Councillor Anne Murphy claimed no permission had been given for any work, which she said should not be taking place as there are nesting birds at the site.
Shortly after the work crew arrived on the site today this afternoon the police were called by residents.
Prue Reilly, who lives opposite the land, said: “I’ve been told that one of the trees that came down was rotting on the inside. There’s a silver birch and another one that’s come down today. There was also some wood chipping going on.
“The police arrived fairly quickly, and the crews have gone now.”
Residents against the development claim the plot has been used for more than 60 years and is both a popular spot for games and picnics and a wildlife haven which has been maintained by volunteers.
They also say the footpath across the land has been used for decades and that the destruction of trees could cause criminal disturbance to wildlife under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.
Prue Reilly added: “It’s a really nice thing to have in the area. Families use it, and it is important to have places where we can see wildlife like birds and butterflies and bees.
“It’s also a useful route through to Northfield Road for pedestrians.”
Residents claim they were not consulted about any work on the site.
More than 600 people have signed a petition called Save Cobden View Community Garden, which demands a full public consultation over the site’s future.
According to the petition, the landowner intends to build one or two shops with a block of flats above.
South Yorkshire Police have been contacted for further comment.