Rockingham Estate: Three years ago the council allowed LendLease to plant trees on the green area outside our flats to fulfill the developer's pledge to replace all the trees they chopped down on the Heygate. The council held extensive discussions with LendLease but failed to ask any of the residents whose windows would be blocked by trees. The first we knew about it was when we saw them being planted. They are too close to the building. A few of us protested and were treated with disdain by the council officer involved until I went on BBC Radio London and got the council to agree that if anybody objected to having a tree outside their flat without being consulted it would be removed. I made the mistake of agreeing with LendLease that they would prune the tree outside my flat annually as an alternative to removal. They did this for the last three years at which point they handed the maintenance of the trees to the council. When I asked the council officer involved when the tree would be pruned he said that the council would neither prune it nor would it be removed. He refuses to engage with the fact that the council promised to make amends for its previous utter failure in expecting the residents to simply put up with something they neither asked for nor wanted. I have nothing against trees but I don't see why an unelected bureaucrat should decide that I need one blocking the daylight whether I like it or not and especially because the council are ensuring that we are being surrounded by ever more tall blocks which are limiting light levels to many homes.
The council have said that on this occasion they will uphold the commitment made to me on BBC Radio London and will remove the tree. I have been reliably informed that it can be moved to another location. It would have been nice if we had been asked about the location and type of trees before they were planted as a view of trees is desirable but a single tree blocking out the entire view is not. The foliage on these is too dense to be suitable for planting alongside dwellings and they are too close to the building. I have asked for an assurance that this can never happen again, that residents will be consulted and listened to before any such planting takes place.