(E.2) Crystal Palace Park Trees

- letter to Robbie Stoaks (Bromley Council) 3rd April 2000

Mr. Robbie Stoakes
London Borough of Bromley
Central Library
High Street
Bromley BR1 1EX

3rd April 2000

Dear Mr. Stoakes

Trees at Crystal Palace Park

May I thank you and your colleagues (Ms. Seijo and Messrs. Ainge and Morton) for taking the trouble to meet with Matthew Frith of the London Wildlife Trust, and myself and Ken Lewington of the Campaign on 17th March. Thank you also for explaining to us the rationale for your removal of 212 trees as part of the Phase 1 works. I have subsequently read your report to Committee, which in fact reflects the salient parts of our conversation.

Of course, we applaud the planting of new trees. As for removals, we understand that in principle there may be justification for removing some trees. However, without a plan and schedule of the trees proposed for removal, it is impossible for us to consider whether the ecological/historical/landscaping gains outweigh the losses. This point has been made forcibly by a number of our supporters. I would, therefore, be most grateful for such a plan and schedule.

We are very glad that you have decided to meet with community groups in order to disseminate your plans on a wider basis. We hope that this will lead to constructive examination of the proposals in general, particularly as to the extent of the fellings proposed. Further, we hope that there will be examination of the effects of these proposals on fauna, e.g. by retention of dead wood on areas not open to public access such as the dinosaur islands.

We note that you obtained planning permission for the works last year in part at least on the basis that only 42 trees were destined to be felled and 1,500 planted. Thus, at that time, you under-estimated the fellings by five-fold, and overestimated plantings by a factor of 2.5. It does seem to us that the alteration in numbers felled, and the decrease is numbers planted, is of such an order that the matter ought to be placed back before the Development Control Committee, so that there can be no suggestion either that the Committee has granted permission, or that the public has been consulted, on a false basis.

We had the opportunity when we met to discuss the way in which details of these works emerged, which as you know gave rise to a measure of alarm in the press (which we did not instigate) and also in the minds of the public who read those press reports. It was indeed unfortunate that your disinclination to reveal details of the project in advance should result in your getting bad press over this project. You explained the source of your disinclination, and I explained the difficulties this had caused us. As a result, I think we came a little closer to understanding each other's point of view. I hope that this experience can lead to a position in which neither side is inhibited from initiating discussions with the other, or conducting them on a basis of trust.

Yours sincerely,



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Last updated April 2000; added here 04/07/00