YP Letters: Hold Sheffield Council to account over tree felling

Tree-felling work in Kenwood Road, Sheffield, amid protests on the ground.
Tree-felling work in Kenwood Road, Sheffield, amid protests on the ground.
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From: Helen McIlroy, Sheffield.

NOW that the truth is finally out about the long-denied target to fell half of Sheffield’s street trees, we should remember the vast sums of our money that the cash-strapped council has spent on trying to keep their appalling secret under wraps (The Yorkshire Post, March 12).

Taxpayers’ money was spent on the fake consultation and the ‘Independent Tree Panel’.

Set up three years after the contract to fell 17,500 trees, we now know why its recommendations to save trees were almost always overridden by council officers.

Who knows how much more taxpayers’ money has gone on getting a city-wide injunction against campaigners trying to protect trees?

The injunction was granted after the judge said that campaigners’ claims that the council intended to cut down half the trees were a ‘fantasy’.

And then there is the heavy-handed use of South Yorkshire Police. Approximately 30 officers have been on the streets for eight days at our expense, standing round watching peaceful people, mostly pensioners, watching our trees being butchered.

All this – and more – because SCC signed a contract which they were too ashamed of to reveal, until forced to by the Information Commissioner.

A huge apology, and the resignations of every councillor and council officer involved in both the contract negotiations and the cover-up, are the very least that is owed to the people of this city.

From: Andrew Robinson, The Wheel, Ecclesfield, Sheffield.

FOR those who do not understand the ongoing protests over trees being removed in Sheffield by the city council and its contractor, the main reason is because the council, and especially its contractor, are not providing anything like the truth to the public.

The council has claimed several times that the trees are being removed because they are diseased, damaged or dangerous. And if this was the case, the public would accept the situation. But it only takes a quick look at the trees earmarked for removal to see that this is not true.

There is one main reason why most of these trees are being felled and this is because, over the years, the roots have lifted the kerbstone at the road and in a few cases, part of the footpath.

In most cases, a relatively simple procedure would rectify the problem, dramatically less expensive than removing the whole tree and then planting quite a large replacement tree.

One can only guess at the commercial and contractual politics going on behind the scenes which are leading to a major expensive and controversial tree removal project, when relatively minor and less expensive work to the kerb stone, footpath, or minor tree pruning would resolve the problem. It is certainly not in the interests of the residents and taxpayers of Sheffield.

Reopen lost rail route

From: A​ ​Oldfield, Secretary, Huddersfield, Penistone & Sheffield Rail Users’ Association​, Long Lane, Worrall, Sheffield.

THE heavy snow saw a call made to the military for help. Army personnel were deployed to provide assistance with the recovery of 3​,​500 vehicles reported abandoned on the M62, once called an all-weather road.

A considerable number of them could have avoided the need to use the M62 – and the M1 – if a rail alternative had been available. Well, an alternative does exist​ – the Woodhead route which was closed in 1981.

It must be reopened because it represents the only prospect of delivering the 30​-minute Sheffield-Manchester rail connectivity target proposed by the Sheffield City Region. The case for reopening is a matter of stating the “bleedin’ obvious”.

At its Sheffield presentation, like an illusionist’s assistant, as far as Transport for the North were concerned, Woodhead had vanished. Why? What has changed? Could it possibly be that the choice of Sheffield Midland as the HS2 station for the city, instead of the original idea to locate it at Meadowhall, has scuppered Woodhead?

From: Edward Grainger, ​Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough.

LETTERS and columns on pulling together for the common good during extreme weather condition reminded me of the ​winters of 1947 and 1963.

That spirit of togetherness, appeared again most recently.

In my neck of the woods, neighbo​ur spoke to and helped neighbour​ – something that has been sadly lacking as relative newcomers to the area,​ with no doubt busy lives, keep themselves to themselves.

​While it lasted​,​ the community spirit was great to see. But I won’t be surprised if normal service will be resumed​ once the low temperatures and the white stuff give way to normal conditions​.

Hard Brexit looms ahead

From: B Murray, Sheffield.

THERESA May is careering towards a hard Brexit. She refuses ​t​o go halfway with Europe, rejects the idea of the British public having a second referendum​ and often does not listen to other MPs.

Stretched thin

From: Trev Bromby, Sculcoates Lane, Hull.

WHILE doing chores and,​ incidentally​,​ watching the Victoria Derbyshire morning show on BBC Two, I realised, once again, that the show has about 20 minutes of content​,​ which it juggles and rehashes to stretch out for two hours.

National shame

From: June Wolfe, Sutherland Road, Lightcliffe, Halifax.

I WAS very surprised and saddened to read that Dame Judi Dench had entered a horse for that most cruel race​ – the Grand National.