community vigil: Save our Library Trees

A number of old and protected trees are to be felled in my small town in England to make way for car parking (not needed according to one survey) – due to a slightly dodgy property deal the Council made some years ago. In the fb group to further the campaign, someone has already pointed out how the process can formally be challenged, despite a recent Council decision to go ahead with the chop.

It was dark tonight when we met, many with candles or torch lights to listen to a song, a child read a poem she wrote and to chant in the manner of demonstrations in this country:

What do we want – save the bats

what do we need – more trees

After some announcements such as that about the recent bat survey and one from the mayor who supports the community, there was cake, donated by a local shop,and lots of chats and contact details shared in case we have to come out to form a human shield against chainsaws, should the need arise. I don’t think I was the only one there who felt a sense of awe among more than 100 people and several dogs who supported the clapping and chanting.

lights waved dogs greet

a song in the dark:

my community – feet on solid ground

===

also see: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectNewarksGreenSpaces

~ by Barbara S on October 30, 2021.

3 Responses to “community vigil: Save our Library Trees”

  1. I hope for a successful outcome for the trees and one of my favorite animals – bats!!

    • today I learned that the people standing guard on the site called the police when the Council turned up with someone without credentials to do a bat survey (allegedly). And the police acted to – avoid a breach of the peace and sent them packing, the Council. I feel almost proud of the little community I didn’t know existed 3wks ago.

  2. today, the local rag publishes an open letter from the campaign to the local Council:An open letter about Newark Library Garden and Trees
    We are writing to urge Newark & Sherwood District Council to stop plans to turn Newark Library Garden into a car park, so that a promised review of these plans can take place and a final attempt can be made to save the Garden and its trees before it is too late.
    Almost 5,000 people (many of whom live locally) have now signed the petition opposing plans to chop down the trees outside Newark Library and turn the Library Garden into an extension to the London Road car park.
    Along with the Castle Grounds and the Remembrance Garden, the Library Garden is one of the last remaining public green areas with mature trees close to the town centre. Could it be better used? Yes. Could it be improved? Definitely. But not by chopping down the trees and replacing the lawn with tarmac and exhaust fumes.
    Over the past few weeks local residents have been watching over the trees and garden night and day in the hope they can still be saved. These people live in and around Newark and we are all giving up our time to protect the Library Gardens because this precious green space means so much to us. People have been stopping to sign the petition every day, bringing cake and cups of tea and talking to us. Television and radio stations have interviewed us, including ITV News who filmed at the Library Garden earlier this week.
    We believe the value of the Garden and the trees was not fully considered when the decision was made to sell it and turn it into a car park. We have commissioned an independent report to provide a valuation of the Library trees using a nationally-established method. It calculates a value of £111,000 for the trees in the garden. The business case used to make the decision was flawed, and it is not yet clear if the council met their obligations under the Local Government Act to give notice of their intention to dispose of land held as public open space. Additionally, there is evidence of bats in the Garden and it is not clear whether a bat survey was undertaken at the time the planning application was made.
    Car parking capacity in the town is currently at around 60%. The Council’s plans will create (net) 22 new parking spaces, increasing the number of car park spaces in town by 2%. But at what price? The town will need more car parking in the future but it will need trees and greenery too. A few more spaces won’t stop the need to build future car parks.
    We understand that the Council is in a difficult position. But it is not an impossible position. We are asking the Council to stop the plans while the decision and the car parking strategy are reviewed, and to meet with us to discuss ways to save the Garden and the site.
    The time to do this is now – not after the trees are felled and the Garden is concreted over. Many emails and messages have not been responded to so we are sending this open letter.
    Protect Newark’s Green Spaces 🌳

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