New Sheffield 'street tree archive' promised - but no public inquiry, says council leader

A new archive containing every document relating to Sheffield's street tree controversy is being created.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:45 pm

It will include all tree-related materials, including emails and reports, and will be housed at Sheffield Archives on Shoreham Street.

Council Leader Julie Dore said the documents would remain there "in perpetuity" and new information would continue to be added.

Any which were redacted or where financial details were exempt will remain so.

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Sheffield's tree controversy was long and bitter.

Coun Dore said there would be no public inquiry into the tree saga despite calls for one following a recent Ombudsman report.

The Local Government Ombudsman instructed Sheffield Council to apologise to the people of the city after it found "numerous problems" with the way it removed street trees.

The Ombudsman found the council did not, at times, act with openness and transparency when removing trees across Sheffield, and when dealing with people’s complaints about that work.

It investigated after receiving a complaint from campaigner Alan Robshaw, who has since passed away, and instructed the council to make a "public unreserved apology" to the city and a private apology to Mr Robshaw's family.

Following the report, there were calls from tree campaigners for a public inquiry but Coun Dore said one was not necessary.

"We have had the Ombudsman report, an independent report by the Forestry Commission and the review by Sheffield Council, Amey and Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG).

"We will continue to develop from the lessons learned in that document and continue to work with partners, including STAG.

"We have already had several inquiries in effect and I think we are now in a really positive position to move forward."

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