Saturday 5 March 2011 7.04pm
Consultation did take place on the issue of the loss of trees and scrub land. The Friends have spent many, many hours over the past year or more examining the plans for the park, discussing the plans with the council and the design team and lobbying for changes where necessary. The decision to support the plans was not taken lightly, but after very careful consideration of a range of issues including but not limited to wildlife and biodiversity.
There are 456 trees being removed, of which there are 167 trees 'specimen trees', with the rest being smaller trees growing in scrub land. 'Scrub' is a technical term used to describe areas of immature trees as opposed to 'woodland' which describes areas of mature trees. Where the figure of 167 trees is quoted as the number of trees being removed, it is because the smaller trees in the scrub areas are not being counted separately, but the plans have always been clear that these area of scrub would be removed.
The scrub that is being removed from Burgess Park
is of poor quality: it has been badly maintained, there is little variety of trees and the trees are often quite stunted. There were not particularly good for wildlife.
Of the specimen trees being removed, many are also not particularly healthy or are coming towards the end of their lifespans - for instance the cherry trees. Most of Burgess Park
only has a thin layer of topsoil and underneath there is vast quantities of rubble left from the demolition of the old houses. This has made it very difficult for existing trees to do well in the park. The new trees will be planted in proper tree pits that will give them space to establish good root systems and which should allow them to flourish.
The plan includes an increase in the area of scrubland and this scrubland should be of a higher quality with more variety of trees and - hopefully - better management in future. This is something the Friends of Burgess Park
are working hard to achieve. Indeed the Friends have continually stressed the importance of maintenance in the park and will continue to do so.
To quote from the Friends' statement again:
"the Friends would like to emphasise our concern that the plans for the park will only be a success if they are matched by proper plans for ongoing maintenance and environmental management of the park so that improvements in the park can be sustained for the long term. The Friends will continue to work with Southwark Council
to achieve this sustainable future for Burgess Park
The Friends are a group of people who care deeply about Burgess Park
. We wouldn't have supported the plans if we didn't think it was for the best.