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Removal of Woodberry Down’s Happy Man Tree to be delayed and “potentially” reconsidered

PUBLISHED: 14:28 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 14:44 17 August 2020

Campaigners hoping to save the 150 year old London Plane tree that stands outside the former Happy Man pub on Woodberry Grove in May 2020. Picture: Polly Hancock

Campaigners hoping to save the 150 year old London Plane tree that stands outside the former Happy Man pub on Woodberry Grove in May 2020. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Proposals to fell an ancient tree in Woodberry Down will be delayed and possibly reconsidered after the adoption of a new Local Plan.

Protesters deliver a petition to save The Happy Man Tree to the Mayor of Hackney. It was signed by 22,000 people. Picture: The Friends of the Happy Man TreeProtesters deliver a petition to save The Happy Man Tree to the Mayor of Hackney. It was signed by 22,000 people. Picture: The Friends of the Happy Man Tree

The Happy Man Tree was set to be axed after Hackney neighbours “occupied” it for weeks and were later removed in July, when the council was granted an injunction and possession order by the High Court.

READ MORE: ‘They may cut the tree down, but they are losing the argument,’ says Happy Man Tree Supporter after council granted injunction

But the implementation of the council’s new Local Plan, which sets the overall planning policy framework for the borough, means that some planning applications will be reconsidered against the updated planning policy.

This includes the application for Woodberry Down Estate Regeneration project where the tree is located.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council and developer Berkeley Homes have made a joint commitment that a tree that was due to be removed as part of the proposals – known locally as the Happy Man Tree – will not be damaged or removed until the process is completed.”

READ MORE: Hackney protesters ‘occupy’ tree to stop development plans going ahead

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A consultation process on the application began this week and the council has asked the Woodberry Down Community Organisation, which represents residents in the regeneration partnership, to call a meeting where people can hear more about the application and ask questions about the plans to remove the 150-year-old tree.

Resident David Pollock, said the reconsideration was “potentially good news”.

“Especially if everyone responds to the consultation,” he said.

READ MORE: Hackney Council seeks to remove protestors fighting to save 150-year-old Happy Man Tree

Though the council points out that it “previously set out the reasons why the proposed removal is necessary” and that the planning application was submitted following more than a year of consultations with local people.

The council said the tree had been identified for removal for more than a decade ago and the issue with removing it was raised last year.

An independent report was also commissioned but, a council spokesperson said: “After months of workshops and meetings, it became clear that there was not a way to avoid removing the tree without causing a 15-month delay to the construction of affordable housing, and a redesign of the project.”

READ MORE: Happy Man Tree Supporters deliver petition and papier-mache axe to Hackney Mayor

The application for the Woodberry Down regeneration is set to be reconsidered at a meeting of the council’s Planning Committee on September 9.


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