Residents say they were not consulted before tree cut

Trees before

Trees before - Credit: Archant

A row has broken out between devastated residents and Hackney Council after trees were chopped down on a Stoke Newington estate.

Trees After

Trees After - Credit: Archant

The council removed four trees on October 24 from Inglethorpe House in the Tower Court Gardens Estate, off Geldestone and Northwold roads, after saying they had Fireblight – a disease which kills the shoots of certain trees, making the plants look like they have been scorched by fire.

But the move has outraged residents who say they were not consulted and were sceptical about the Fireblight claims.

Stuart Round, 64 of Geldestone Road, said: “There’s a great deal of anger about the destruction of the four trees.”

Mr Round said the issue arose several years previously but protests resulted in Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe ordering a halt to work and the arrival of a qualified tree specialist who found that seven of nine trees to be destroyed were disease-free.

Mr Round said: “One tree nominated as ‘dead’ by the council surveyor was found to be very much alive and to this day brings pleasure to estate residents.”

Occupants blamed the poor quality of soil for the brown leaves on the trees and said that using sprinklers in summer resolved this.

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Mr Round has started a petition and has drummed up support from 140 residents.

He said: “I would challenge [the council] to provide evidence.

“What is truly disgraceful is that we were not told or asked what we, as Hackney Homes tenants or owners, on both sides of Geldeston Road wanted and were entitled to discuss.

“It can’t be left to tenants and residents associations who have very small attendances and don’t necessarily represent everyone on the estate.

He continued: “Inglethorpe House which was once attractive with the explosion of green in the spring is now a slum-like building.”

Fellow resident Lydia Henny said: “I woke up looking forward to spending the morning in our living room but was shocked to find that living room looked bare and lifeless.

“What once was a lovely view on to the street now looks stark and more of a concrete jungle.”

A council spokesman said a risk assessment in accordance with the British Standard for Tree Works that was carried out by Hackney Homes, indicated the trees had Fireblight.

He said: “The local Tenants and Residents Association were informed of the planned tree maintenance once the decision was taken to remove the trees preventing the disease from spreading further.

“A variety of trees, less prone to Fireblight, will be planted as replacements.”