Three mature plane trees on Rotherhithe New Road are likely to be felled, says Southwark Council.
The trees, which the council says are encroaching on the pedestrian space on the public highway, could be felled after adjacent landowners refused to sell the council a small plot of land to enable the pavement to be widened.
“I am extremely disappointed that the only course of action available to the council is to remove these trees from the local community,” said Cllr Peter John, leader of the council.
“Not only are they great for the environment but they add a unique vibrancy. We would not normally fell healthy trees of this age but in this case we have no option. Sadly the landowners have refused to cooperate in helping us to resolve the situation so our hands are tied.”
Whilst the council has pointed the finger at the Residential Management Group, the firm has responded on Twitter:
Three replacement new trees will be planted in a nearby location.
Lib Dem councillor Graham Neale said: “I have suggested that the pavement is built out into the road to make room for the trees rather than removing the wall, which could save the trees from the chop and improve the road at the same time.
“The pavement opposite is more than wide enough to provide a ‘chicane’ traffic calming system. This is a chance to start managing roads in a way that puts pedestrians and cyclists at the front of road management in our borough.
“Instead of listening to alternatives, Labour have decided to chainsaw the trees which date back to Dr Salter. After all the warm words and phoney consultation we’re back to Plan A, which is to take the easy option and get rid of the trees. How many times must we listen to hollow promises?
“Residents and campaigners have spent a lot of time and effort trying to save these trees. It’s a waste of our time, and a waste of a great opportunity, but I’m afraid that’s the way Labour are running Southwark.”