Arrogance beggars belief

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Throughout the ongoing deplorable tree-felling massacre Sheffield City Council has displayed a staggering level of ignorance and incompetence regarding the importance of our highway trees, as they seem to have no understanding of the consequences of their actions or why it is so essential to retain them.

Their arrogance in disregarding the views of residents and advice from arboricultural experts beggars belief. They are not only felling thousands of healthy trees that form beautiful canopies over our streets but also destroying those mature specimens that protect us from health-endangering road traffic pollution, Sheffield having one of the highest levels in the country. The planting of saplings will not compensate for their loss as they will NEVER grow to the same height or have the same protective large crowns as those that are being axed. Many of the trees planted in the Victorian era or early 1900s are only half-way through their expected lifespan. How dare this inept and misguided bunch of morons in charge of our city take it upon themselves to make decisions that will change the character and landscape of our streets for ever?

Councillors Bryan Lodge, Julie Dore and Sheffield City Council are mere custodians of our city and have a duty to protect our heritage and environment (which includes our street trees) for future generations to enjoy long after we have all gone. Bryan Lodge has stated that the council’s Streets Ahead highway deal with private contractor Amey was “what the city wanted to be done”.

No, Councillor Lodge, it wasn’t!

We wanted our roads repaired but the residents of Sheffield certainly DID NOT want all our street trees chopped down. In spite of SCC’s claims of transparency and openness it appears the un-redacted version of the contract is not available for members of the public to read. Why the secrecy and what are they afraid of us finding out?

The council has tried to blame the tree campaigners for the cost to the public of policing the protests and court action following the despicable arrests under a Trade Union law, but the only people responsible for this disgraceful mess is the council. Amey’s felling crews also have a lot to answer for as they have to be pretty heartless to turn up day after day ignoring all the hearts and ‘Save Me’ notices lovingly placed on the doomed trees by those, including children, who are so distressed by this wanton destruction.

Even the war memorial trees are not safe as many of those planted 100 years ago to commemorate soldiers of WW1 who never came home are also destined to be victims of the chainsaws. In a lovely poem entitled Keeping The Memory Green by Paul Whitfield (Retro February 18) one line describes how trees planted for fallen soldiers keeps their memory alive and says: “We are never gone as long as trees stand tall in place of us”. Unfortunately the people who planted them in times gone by couldn’t have envisaged that 100 years later our ruthless council would be callously chopping down many of the remaining war memorial trees which are still healthy and have many years of life left in them.

The whole wretched business stinks as Amey are only motivated by profit and those in SCC involved in the decision making haven’t the guts to negotiate changes to the flawed contract or say ‘Sorry, we got it badly wrong’.

Susan Richardson

Westminster Crescent, Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10

Like going back in time

After reading your feature on Burngreave last week, me and the missus decided to have a venture down there last Sunday.

I can recall that at one time, like many other estates, there was a pub on every corner. Not any more though. We are down to just three now down Burngreave, The Staffordshire Arms, The Grapes and The Royal Oak.

Although all three of them are on the small side, it was a pleasant surprise how friendly they all were.

I can remember the days when, if you walked into a pub for the first time it was like a scene from an old Western where the stranger walks into the saloon and the piano stops and the poker game stops and all eyes are on the newcomer.

Well not down Burngreave.

After spending a couple of hours in each of them we felt like we’d known everybody down there for years. How refreshing to go into The Royal Oak and see people playing cards, something you don’t see now, and enjoying themselves.

Then the karaoke fires up in the afternoon and everyone’s up singing.

I tell you what, it was like going back in time to the good old days.

So a big thanks to Martin at the Grapes, Paul at the Staffordshire Arms and Karen at the Royal Oak for a lovely Sunday.

Ted Fowler

by email

See you at the speedway

I wrote a few weeks ago about the joys of being a speedway fan and now that we are only a few weeks away from the start of the new season, I thought I would just give a nudge to all the stay-at-home fans to get off their backsides and get down to Owlerton on Thursday nights.

The Tigers management has put together a young and exciting team for the new season and, if they can steer clear of injuries, we could have some silverware on its way to Owlerton this season.

Speedway is a great family sport where you get both Wednesday and United fans standing side by side cheering for the same team, with all football rivalry forgotten for a few hours.

I took a trip down to Owlerton last week to see how things were taking shape in readiness for the new season and was pleased to see that all the trees around the outside of the track have been chopped down, with not a protester in sight! (only kidding).

Not long to go now, so see you at the speedway.

David A Green


The standard to expect

Newman Road, Wincobank, was resurfaced for the Tour de France. After 12 months it was breaking up and now there are patches all over it.

Is this the standard of work we can expect when Amey at last start on the main roads?

They made a good job of the side roads, but they don’t carry heavy traffic.

R Johnson, age 79


My heart doesn’t bleed

I understand it’s not easy being on the dole, it can’t be easy with the job centre shutting on the Manor, claimants will have to travel to town to sign on.

Bus fares are not cheap, buses are unreliable. Anthony May, who signs on, says it’s going to be difficult for people to get to town for 9am as kids need dropping at school and the buses are rubbish.

Welcome to my world. Every day the panic to get my child to school so you can catch the bus to town hoping you make it for 9am.

It’s difficult for all of us but it has to be done.

Sorry, my heart doesn’t bleed on this.

Jayne Grayson

by email