A Sheffield street that has been the scene of protests, arrests and even ‘tea poisoning’ allegations in the row over the mass felling of the city’s street trees was the location chosen by the council in its bid to turn over a new leaf in the dispute.
Tree and highways specialists from Sheffield Council contractor Amey conducted their first inspection of a previously–threatened tree on Chatsworth Road, Dore, yesterday as part of a new approach to the issue which should see fewer trees removed.
Felling has been on hold in the city since March after work was paused following a national outcry at the use of dozens of police officers and private security guards to support operations in the wake of growing protests.
Around 5,500 trees – 2,000 of them healthy but deemed to be damaging pavements or road surfaces – have already been axed as part of a council highways improvement contract that started back in 2012.
On Chatsworth Road, seven out of the street’s 12 lime trees were identified for replacement, with six already removed - the final one in March just before the felling programme was put on hold.
But following inspections observed by anti-felling campaigners yesterday, the final threatened tree has now been saved from the axe through kerb repair work.
Among those in attendance was local resident Sue Unwin, who was investigated by police with her husband John in 2017 over an allegation they had attempted to poison three Amey workers by putting laxatives in tea and orange juice before the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence after forensic tests were carried out.
She said it was a day of mixed emotions as she believes the same solutions could be have deployed to save the trees on her street that have been lost, along with many others across the city.
“Obviously I am delighted the tree has been saved but it makes me so sad that it has taken so long to do it and we have lost and gone through so much in doing it,” she said.