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Thursday, 5 January 2017

Sefton Tree butchers ignore residents and councillors and go ahead with tree felling

Despite common sense and several urgent calls for felling to halt, Sefton Council have now gone blindly ahead with the massacre of the healthy and vigorous mature Ainsdale tree in Bowness Ave/Liverpool Road passageway.

It does not take an expert to realise that the three trunks of the felled tree are white, healthy heartwood, with no signs of decay. This fact was spelled out to the Council several times, yet they buried their head in the sand and blindly went ahead with this outrageous and expensive tree felling operation.

Cllr Hayden Preece had called for a site meeting several times and Stephen Whiteside (Senior Tree Officer) of Sefton Council was well aware of this situation. Mr Whiteside had written in response to Cllr Preece, while the main trunks of the tree were still standing.  So there would have been time to halt work for the proposed site meeting. 

Cllrs Preece and Thomson (above left) challenged the Council and requested a site meeting, yet calls were ignored. 

Why did Mr Whiteside not stop the ongoing work, as clearly requested by an elected Ainsdale councillor, or was he over-ruled by a superior intent on felling the poor old tree ‘before’ any more protests could be made? Why was an elected Ainsdale councillor ignored by a council officer? 

Cllr Lynne Thompson had also written of concern about Sefton’s tree actions. She received an ambiguous response from officer, Graham Parry, claiming the tree was unsound. However, photos in this article categorically prove that the trunks of the tree were white, vigorous and sound - just as campaigners had correctly stipulated right from the start. 

Sefton got it 100% wrong, felled a healthy tree and once again cost the taxpayer lots of money! 
Why did Margaret Carney (Sefton CEO), who is supposed to know what is going on with her work force not allow the proposed site meeting to take place? How can a modern council be so out of touch with residents and councillors? 

Campaigner, Pat Regan, had only just written to Sefton Council offering to volunteer to trim the tree on an annual basis, if only they would agree 'not' to cut it down. Among other things Pat had stated to the council…

“I propose the following, which will surely alleviate any further safety concerns you may still hold. If you can pollard this tree to a lower level of say 15- 20 feet I am happy to volunteer that on an annual basis I will bring a ladder between the months of December and February and trim the tree to prevent it getting too high. I was one of the WWP volunteers who signed your Parkforce Training Insurance document at the WACA centre (in 2013)  yet, if deemed necessary, I am happy to sign it again so that I may be insured to trim this tree when necessary. I do have my own ladder and bow saw and accept that a risk assessment would be needed. I also know that power tools would not be permitted. I offer this volunteer work so that the tree can survive and all that would be required from the Council is that a few waste trimmings be carried away after I had finished. This fair offer to maintain the old tree at a lower level may be one solution that will cost the council coppers yet sustain a greener and more ecological passageway for both residents and wildlife. In view of the above, your proposals (which we continue to challenge for previously given reasons) to fell the tree are redundant.”

Sadly, Pat’s well-meant offer came too late as Mrs Carney’s workers had already gunned up their chain saws and felled the old tree, ‘without’ bothering to honour Cllr Preece’s requests for an urgent site meeting. 

Why have this appalling council not got any concern for nature in our town? How much funding are they wasting on similar avoidable tree work in the area? Residents have a right to know. In a nutshell, Sefton’s trusting taxpayers are inadvertently funding this bizarre council’s wanton crimes against nature! Whilst many stay silent for fear of 'rocking the boat', this out-of-touch authority is destroying what little green heritage we still have left. 


See also ... 


Council promise to leave stump to regenerate and plant new trees as well. 

The afternoon, Mr Whiteside of Sefton Council wrote advising Pat Regan (and councillors involved) that the tree had now been felled. He also promised that the remaining stump would be left to "re-generate into a bush".  The council have also promised more trees to be planted in the passageway. 

Of course, questions still remain as to why the authority ignored a councillor's requests for a site meeting 'before' more work took place. However, it is pleasing to hear that the old tree will now be left in peace to do its best to regenerate new growth. 

More trees are also welcome.

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