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Ancient Hackney plane tree crowned Tree of the Year

PUBLISHED: 14:48 23 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42 23 October 2020

The Happy Man Tree has been voted England's Tree of the Year. Picture: Woodland Trust

The Happy Man Tree has been voted England's Tree of the Year. Picture: Woodland Trust

Woodland Trust

An ancient Woodberry Down tree, set to be felled for redevelopment, has been voted England’s tree of the year.

The Happy Man Tree, named after the nearby and now demolished Happy Man pub in Woodberry Grove, was crowned winner of the Woodland Trust’s 2020 Tree of the Year thanks to thousands of votes from the public.

However, following a long-running dispute between supporters of the tree and Hackney Council, as well as developers of the Woodberry Down Regeneration project Berkeley Homes, the tree will be removed to make way for 5,500 new homes, community facilities and public spaces.

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

READ MORE: Plans to fell Hackney’s Happy Man tree reapproved

Supporters of the tree hung a banner with the hashtag #noticethistree after the Woodland Trust announced it had won the public vote. Picture: Woodland TrustSupporters of the tree hung a banner with the hashtag #noticethistree after the Woodland Trust announced it had won the public vote. Picture: Woodland Trust

Noemi Menendez, a Woodberry Down resident who is part of the community efforts to save the tree, said: “We are over the moon to have won this award, and extremely grateful to everybody who voted for our tree.

“Needless to say, we have all been challenged and pushed outside of our comfort zones in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Yet, this crisis has revealed new priorities in people’s lives. The message is clear, we need and want mature trees in our neighbourhoods.”

She added that both the tree and the building of new homes are important to the members of her community who are fighting to save it from being cut down.

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

A banner with the hashtag #noticethistree was unfurled from the Happy Man Tree on October 22 following the announcement of its win.

“This is a wonderful show of support, not only for the Happy Man Tree, but for all the overlooked street trees across the UK that are a vital part of our efforts to reverse the climate and ecological crisis we are in and which mean so much to their communities,” said a spokesperson from a group which has campaigned and is taking legal action to save the tree, called Friends of the Happy Man Tree.

Supporters of the Happy Man Tree continue in their efforts to save it from being felled.

For more information about the campaign to save the Happy Man Tree, click here

For more information on the Woodberry Down Redevelopment project, click here.


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