Top: Proposals for tree works on Midsummer Common currently being consulted on. Bottom: Proposals taken to the West Central Area Committee on 23 September and approved with exception of the lowest four trees.
On Friday the 19th of November notices appeared on Jesus Green and Midsummer common announcing a consultation, under the city council’s tree protocol, on council’s proposed felling, pollarding, transplanting and new planting of trees on two green spaces.
The city council has a webpage on the proposals at:
I am concerned that the proposals being put out to consultation are different from those approved by councillors. Spot the difference in the plans shown to the right! Also the proposals being consulted on do not fully represent the council’s plans, in particular some, but not all, new tree planting is shown and the plans associated with the consultation do not show the entire area where new planting is proposed.
In response to the announcement of the consultation I have sought some clarification from the council:
Dear Cambridge City Council,
I am writing to seek some clarification on the current consultation on the tree works proposed for Midsummer Common and Jesus Green.
- The plans associated with this current consultation on only cover certain areas of the green spaces; the North West section of Jesus Green and the North East section of Midsummer Common. This is despite the scheme being consulted on being described as the one approved for implementation by West/Central Area Committee on 23 September 2010. The proposals approved by that committee included tree works outside of those areas. eg. New planting around the Midsummer Common toilets, planting along the paths on Butt Green, planting on the south side of Jesus Green, replacing trees on the south eastern stretch of the Jesus Green Plane Tree Avenue.
- It appears that not all proposed new tree planting within the areas shown is indicated on the plans associated with the current consultation. For example the three proposed new black poplars to the east of tree 144 are not shown. Have these been dropped from the proposals, are the plans being consulted on incomplete or is there another explanation?
- The whole south edge of Midsummer Common is not shown on the plans associated with this current consultation. The plans for this area have not been publicised. It isn’t clear what the position is at the moment with respect to this area. I note one new tree is now proposed south of tree 143, to the river-side of the North Terrace to Cutter Ferry bridge path. This is well outside “Area D”; the area on which the West Central Area Committee did not come to a decision in public but decided to consult immediate neighbours. Three of the proposed new silver limes have been moved away from the allotments, further into the open space, without explanation.
- A minor point; but the prior to the West/Central area committee only one tree was to be transplanted; the proposals currently being consulted on show three trees to be moved.
Based on all the above points I think it is highly misleading to describe the content of the plans currently out for consultation as being what was: “approved for implementation by West/Central Area Committee on 23 September 2010″.
What I would suggest is publication of the complete plan of all the proposed tree-works on Jesus Green and Midsummer Common and re-starting the consultation process then so it can be concluded as soon as possible. If there are any intended changes since the very well attended special 23 September West Central Area committee I would suggest highlighting these and explaining who has made those changes and why.
Lastly I note the current consultation while on the city council website, is not linked from the “Tree works schedules” page where all previous consultations under the tree protocol have been listed:
Cllr Cantrill has been stubbornly refusing to include new planting in the consultation; at two successive West Central Area committee meetings he has denied new planting needs to be consulted on and says it is not covered by the council’s tree protocol. Judge for yourself – see section 9 of Cambridge City Council’s tree protocol which is titled “Tree Planting”, section 9.2.1 states: “Where trees are to be planted where none have been planted previously, or the proposals are for major planting as part of the
long-term renewal of a landscape, the Council will undertake consultations.”
At the last full council meeting I sought to use the public question slot to ask:
Will new major tree planting schemes be subject to consultation, as required by S.9.1.2 of the council’s tree protocol?
However following a discussion with the Mayor and Council Leader officers informed me my question was not in-order.
I might not have got very far in any-case; I’ve twice experienced Cllr Cantrill refuse to answer questions I have put to him using the public speaking slot at council meetings. At the October 2010 West Central area committee he refused to explain slippage in the timetable for getting the tree works on Midsummer Common and Jesus Green underway (councillors conspired not to minute the timetable he had committed to delivering, and they had approved at the previous meeting). The previous occasion was when I asked why he was responsible for harassing innocent students through the courts for council tax they were not liable for.
- Suggesting Tweaks to Midsummer Common Tree Plans – Article on my contribution to the 23 September West Central Area Committee
- Months More Delay and Consultation for Jesus Green and Midsummer Common Tree Plans – Article on the 23 September West Central Area Committee.