Save the Footbridge Oaks Campaign

by pennieh in London, England, United Kingdom

Save the Footbridge Oaks Campaign
We did it
On 28th July 2020 we successfully raised £2,665 with 73 supporters in 28 days

We are campaigning to save two mature, healthy oaks by providing an alternative solution that retains the trees and repairs the bridge.

by pennieh in London, England, United Kingdom

New Planning Application to Fell Oaks

Southwark Highways Department has now put in a new planning application to fell the oak trees.  The reference number is 20/AP/3632 and can be reached from the Southwark planning register. Comments can be made until 10th January 2021.  

The application proposal is: " 2 x Mature Oaks - Fell due to damage and obstruction to bridge repair"

We will be objecting to it on these core grounds:

  • No evidence has been provided that the tree roots have caused damage to the bridge.
  • The trees are only an obstruction to the current repair design.  There are alternative ways of repairing the bridge which do not require their removal and which would have a lower impact on the nature reserve altogether.
  • The value of the trees in terms of amenity (CAVAT value £242,000), biodiversity, carbon capture and sequestration, air purification etc has not been taken into account.
  • The effect of the removal of the trees on the stability of the slope has not been properly assessed, and is likely to cause further problems with the bridge.
  • Taking into account the above two issues, the removal of the trees would not be the best use of public money to achieve the long term repair of the bridge that the Council says it wants.

I know this is a busy time of year, but if you are able to put in an objection to the planning application on the above or any other grounds, it would be most useful.  More details supporting the above points can be found in Notes on 20AP3632.  For those who want to delve deeper into the documents attached to the planning application, here is a description of what they all are.

Please note the following information about making comments, taken from the Southwark Planning website:

As the Planning Register (Public Access) is not a discussion forum, any comments received which are in response to comments by other consultees will not be published online or made public in any other way. For your comment to be published and taken into account when the final decision is made, it must not directly refer to comments made by others.

Earlier this week we also submitted a formal complaint to LB Southwark over the process used by the Highways Department to assess the alternative engineering design for the repair of Cox’s Walk Footbridge given to the Council by this Campaign, and the conduct and status of the meeting that followed, which had been presented by the Council as a public forum to discuss this alternative design.   The assessment and meeting were used to inform the councillor and officer team tasked with the decision regarding the repairs for the Cox’s Walk Footbridge.  As you know, this decision was to proceed with the Council’s original design although there were still outstanding issues with both their proposed repair and their assessment of our alternative.  We have been told that we will receive a level one response to our complaint from the Highways Department by 6th January 2021.  This is the first stage of the complaints procedure.  

Many thanks to you all for your continuing support, feedback and great ideas this year.  I especially want to thank the direct action team without whom those trees would have been felled a month ago;  the engineers, architect and arboriculturists who showed us that an alternative which kept the trees really was possible; those who made that proposal possible by backing the crowdfunder; and last but not least, the enthusiastic researchers who find brilliant arguments to try to pull Southwark Council's head out of the sand and face up to the realities of the Climate Emergency.  

Wishing you all as Merry a Christmas as Covid-19 will allow.  At least we can share the gift of knowing that the oak trees are still standing.  And Best Wishes for a Better 2021.

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