People Power Should Prevail on Bridge Street Trees

Last year the Tory controlled City Council announced plans to remove a 1/3 of tress from Bridge Street. In response, the Liberal Democrats at the Town Hall launched a petition.

Over 190 residents, local business owners and taxpayers signed the petition!

Lib Dem councillors then formally presented the petition at a Full Council meeting, leading to the Councils Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee (Wednesday 14 September 2011) being informed by then director of Communications Andrew Mackintosh, that they would re-open part of a public consultation into works on Bridge Street which specifically referred to the trees in this area.

And the results are now in! Nearly 60% of consultees said “Leave the trees untouched!”

The other results included 3.5% in favour of removing all of the trees and 38% supporting the Tory controlled councils plans to remove a 1/3 of the trees!

According to Council Officers:

"The consultation closed on 26 October 2011. The press release was issued to the usual local media contacts list, including Anglia, Look East, BBC Radio Cambs, the ET, Connect FM and Heart FM and a collection of other local publications.

"The consultation was a feature item on the front page of the website to make it as visible as possible for those people who heard about the consultation to find out more."

Lib Dem councillor, Nick Sandford, who led calls on the committee to force officers to rerun the original consulation which it was alleged had very biased and leading questions, said:

“The results clearly support what Lib Dems have been saying all along.

“People want the trees retained and they are opposed to the Tory cabinet’s scheme to remove a third of them.

“I think we should now retain all the trees, except for the few which the consultant’s report identified as diseased or dangerous”.

Liberal Democrat councillors have also called for the next meeting of the committee (18th January) that these new results should be formally reported and a discussion should take place before any conclusions are reached by the Tory dominated Council.

Worth Noting:

* The total number of responses to the Councils latest consultation on the Bridge Street trees was 200! And were as follows:

Q1: We have been advised by specialists, The Urban Forestry Organisation Limited, that there are too many trees on Long Causeway and Bridge Street, which has a potential impact on the future health of the trees. We are proposing to remove around a third of these trees in order to prolong the life of the others, open up the street and allow more natural daylight.

Do you think we should?

Leave the trees untouched – 116

Remove around one-third of the trees – 76

Remove all of the trees – 7

I don’t have any opinion on this – 1

* The results were shared with members of the Councils Strong & Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee, leading to one Tory councillor, Cllr Burton, claiming he thought the sample size was far too small to draw any conclusions from, instead calling for the Committee to ignore public opinion and support the previous position taken by the council and their paid consultant! Liberal Democrats were quick to point out that he did not say this when the statistics showed an opposite opinion in the earlier version of the survey with the biased questions!!