Protest in York Gardens: end of the tree?

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Following the occupation of a huge and old black poplar tree in York Gardens to prevent developers to cut it down, the police came in force on Friday 12th March to remove Bradley, the last occupier.

They started to cut the tree immediately after but the company in charge decided to stop and refused to carry on with the work.

Police in York Gardens to remove occupant of the tree – Credit: Glyn Goodwin @artglyn

Bradley handcuffed and removed from the tree by police officers.

Police officers in action – Credit: Glyn Goodwin @artglyn
The tree ready to be cut – Credit: Glyn Goodwin @artglyn

The protest began at dawn on Monday 22 February when three tree protectors climbed into the tree in support of a long running campaign by local residents to save it from being cut. They arrived overnight on Sunday 21st/Monday 22nd February, and two of them have been in the tree continuously since then despite numerous attempts to evict them: Four security guards used barking dogs and bright lights to keep people awake and removed their possessions out of the tree, including food and personal items. Fortunately, they received plenty of food later once the police allowed it again.

On Wednesday 3 March at 12pm, tree protector Marcus came down from the old black poplar tree he has been living in for 10 days, leaving his friend Bradley “in charge”.

On Friday 12th, following repossession order granted by the High Court, police came to remove the man camping in the tree.

Tree surgery company GraftinGardeners Ltd, came to cut the tree immediately after. But after it went viral on social networks, tree surgeons decided to stop and refused to carry on cutting the tree.

The protest has revealed that the Council has been claiming false support

According to Wandsworth Council (PR January 2020), “the Winstanley and York Road plans were developed following extensive consultation with local people“. They have also mislead the GLA, making them write that “Demolition was supported by the majority of residents at the initial event and ongoing consultation and engagement has maintained this“. The Council intends also to repeat the same claim in their current draft Local Plan, writing: “York Road/Winstanley Regeneration Area is the subject of an agreed master plan prepared in collaboration with the community“.

In reality, Wandsworth Council systematically dismissed all concerns and ignored local residents for the past 11 years. We demonstrated that in our article: Consult, then ignore. Make policy, then ignore = the full process of planning decisions in Wandsworth!

To read more about the Winstanley/Rork Road redevelopment project, refer to our dossier, especially:

This article will be updated later this week.

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CJAG News editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
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