Stand-off with staff as they cut down trees in South Wimbledon
Preparations to fell tree in Norman Road
Residents argued with council staff as they cut down mature trees in a South Wimbledon street.
Staff from Merton Council's Tree Team felled three trees in Norman Road before they abandoned plans to cut down a third because of "abusive behaviour towards staff".
Merton said after the incident that "sadly the tree fells were necessary and linked to a long-standing subsidence claim."
But it admitted residents were not alerted about their action before they arrived to cut down the trees. The third tree, which is closest to Abbey Parade, will still be felled in due course.
Lib Dem Councillor Kirsten Galea, who took the above photograph, tweeted via @KG_womanarch: "I'm heartily disappointed to see these mature trees being cut down on Norman Road. We understand the council's reason for the works is due to the damage caused to the neighbouring property.
"It appears that the residents' swift intervention may have temporarily saved one of the three trees, the one nearest to Abbey Parade, from being cut down *crossed fingers*".
She said the council officer on site also advised that the trees will be replaced with Alnus Cordata trees, which will also have root barriers and will be kept to a smaller size to avoid the issue repeating.
But she added that she would would have liked to see better communication from Merton Council with residents and also with the ward councillors. "We are all aware of the benefits of mature trees and it's natural for people to feel strongly about their removal," she said.
Merton Council tweeted: "We have previously tried various tree maintenance operations to save the trees in question, but the action taken today was the only way to deal with the subsidence claim.
"The third tree will still need to be felled but was left due to abuse suffered by our staff. We will communicate with affected residents before this commences
"We understand this action should have been communicated beforehand, but abusive behaviour towards staff is never acceptable."
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November 6, 2022