Even though Julie Dore, the then leader, and John Mothersole, the local authority’s chief executive, have left office, the abuses of power were so egregious, as law-abiding citizens were criminalised for trying to protect trees, that the city will not be able to move on until lessons have been both learned – and enacted.
In the meantime, it is only proper to acknowledge the change in culture being quietly presided over by Kate Josephs whose past experience in Whitehall is helping her to make her mark as Mr Mothersole’s successor and ensure that the city has leadership commensurate with its national status.
She clearly accepts and recognises that it will take time to regain lost trust and that she has chosen to begin this process now rather than await for the inquiry to take place and make recommendations, a process that will regrettably not happen overnight.
As such, the newly-agreed partnership with relevant parties marks a watershed after it was signed by, amongst, others, the Sheffield Tree Action Group (STAG) which performed an outstanding public service in highlighting the threats to environment, democracy and accountability.
It includes volunteer wardens who will be able to monitor the health of trees with the presumption that they will preserved for future generations unless the circumstances are exceptional. What a pity that such a simple and sensible approach was not pursued at the outset of this controversy.
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