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Autor Subiect: Campaigners mourn loss of Hackney's 'Happy Man Tree'  (Citit de 161 ori)


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Campaigners mourn loss of Hackney's 'Happy Man Tree'
« : 07 Ianuarie 2021, 05:58:48 am »
Campaigners mourn loss of Hackney's 'Happy Man Tree'

Campaigners are mourning the felling of the "Happy Man Tree", which inspired community
protest, music, poetry as well as court injunctions and heated debate in a battle to save it
from its eventual fate.

Crowds watched and cries of "shame" were heard as people remonstrated with police guarding
workers when they first cut off the tree’s branches on Tuesday morning.

One protester was led away by officers after being arrested for breach of the peace.

Tens of thousands of people asked for the tree to be retained instead of being cut down to
make way for the regeneration of the nearby estate, with developer Berkeley Homes admitting
in September of last year that if they had aware of the concerns for the tree earlier, the design
of the works would have been different.

Both Berkeley and Hackney Town Hall maintained throughout the debate that to change course
would be to incur a delay of at least 15 months.

Save the Happy Man Tree campaigner Peter Buckingham said: “It’s a desperately sad moment,
and just totally unnecessary.

"It just didn’t need to happen. They could have planned for this, and respected the tree right
back at the beginning when they were thinking about how many homes to put in."

The tree, which has been brought down to make way for 584 new homes to be built as part
of the third phase of the regeneration of the nearby estate, was overwhelmingly voted Tree
of the Year 2020 by the Woodland Trust, who pointed to the Happy Man as a symbol of a trend
of much-loved mature trees being felled to make way for development.

Adam Cormack, head of campaigning for the Trust, said back in October: “The legacy of this
tree must be that the planning system, which is currently facing overhaul in England, should
protect existing trees and local voices must be listened to when decisions on local trees and
woods are made."

Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville said: “This was a last resort and something that the developer,
Berkeley Homes, alongside council officers, myself and local councillors, spent a long time
working through with residents to explore every possible option to avoid."

A Berkeley Homes spokesperson said it was "never easy to lose a well-liked tree" but the firm
"remain committed to ensuring that the Phase 3 benefits are delivered for the local community
as quickly as possible".

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