Response from Lewisham Council on Tree Works in Beckenham Place Park

Lewisham Council officers have written to Cllr Alan Hall regarding works in Beckenham Place Park. A further question for the February Full Council has been tabled . In the meantime, please see the response below:

 

Dear Cllr Alan Hall,

Thanks for your email about tree works in Beckenham Place Park. These works have been discussed as part of the design development of this project over the last few years and are detailed in our approved planning application. We specifically produced consultation material to aid public understanding showing visualisations of removals and impact on some of the key views. Details of the planning application are here: 

The works are taking place for the following reasons:

-Disease and poor health/danger to the public

-Overcrowding (I.e. thinning overly dense planting’s so the best trees can grow on in better conditions and become a long term contribution to the park) 

-Short lived fast growing species i.e. Golf course planting’s from the early 1990s are being removed or thinned where possible to restore key views that have been blocked (critical to people like Historic England and HLF who want the heritage of the park preserved/restored).

-Brush clearance – this is the removal of some of the dense understorey that has grow up in some key areas such as where the lake is being restored.
Work to remove trees is always contentious which is why we have been providing information about the season’s upcoming works via our e-newsletter, the park notice boards, in the cafe, on our website and on social media.  A selection of this material is attached for your info. Where work is ongoing, special site notices have been erected to explain the reasons for the work and the overall ecological improvements including the 12,000 new trees we’ve already planted. Our arboricultural contractor is also handing out information leaflets to people when they ask about the work being undertaken.
The content of the information being disseminated can be found at the following link:

https://www.lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/improvements-to-parks/BeckenhamPlacePark/Pages/Tree-management.aspx

We are doing what we can to minimise the impact of the works, so cut timber is generally removed from site as the works progress rather than being left lying around, tree stumps in prominent areas are ground down as work progresses, we restrict vehicle movements to specific areas so any reinstatement required is minimised etc. Given that the works have been underway for three months and will finish shortly we think this approach has reduced the complaints we might otherwise have received.

We have a range of activities taking place in the park over the winter months from our regular volunteering sessions through to organised cross country championships and cycling races. We don’t tend to get involved in promoting the latter, as the organisations who request to use the space tend to use the conventional channels for their respective sports (i.e. athletic club leagues or British Cycling). As spring and summer arrive more of the events will be co-ordinated by our team, these are aimed at attracting new visitors from the surrounding area, we’re planning a summer flower show, ‘fun in the park’ (aka a sports day of sorts) and the regular volunteering sessions, we’re also trying to get some free activities up and running in the Easter holidays. We’d be very happy for Phoenix to join us in developing these activities or for them to propose their own. Our volunteering/events co-ordinator Lucy Mitchell would be happy to discuss such collaboration.

 

Further briefing and questions will be requested and asked by Cllr Alan Hall.

Bianca Jagger has tweeted her thanks

 

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