Police attend as protesters try and stop cherry tree felling in Ellington Park

Police were called to the park today due to a protest over tree felling

Police have been called to Ellington Park today (December 2) after protesters tried to prevent cherry trees being felled at the site.

The felling of trees in the park’s ‘Cherry Avenue’ is taking place while the project to build a new cafe, restored terrace, new playground and landscaping is underway.

But protesters, including members of Thanet Green Party, attempted to stop the trees being cut.

Green councillor Becky Wing posted to social media to say the tree removals were unnecessary.

She says campaigners would like to see saplings planted and to be able to take hold and get established before mature trees are removed.

She added: “We need to try and adapt plans, people are upset about the trees being removed. We would like to suspend the felling and try and find a compromise. The problem is the historical aspect is taking priority over the environmental aspect and we need to find a way to merge the two.

“It has been agreed felling will stop so a meeting can be arranged with the ward councillors, Street Trees for Ramsgate and the Ramsgate Historical Society. The hope is another look can be taken at the trees left to be felled to save as many as possible.”

The Thanet Trees group posted about the felling yesterday, saying: “This week Thanet council has commenced the felling of an entire avenue of beautiful and much loved mature cherry trees in Ellington Park.”

The group says there are “serious queries over how the consultation was conducted and how large mature trees were assessed for felling.”

Ellington Park

The Friends of Ellington Park say 10 out of 392 trees identified in a 2018 survey at the park have been removed, adding that all were: “either dead, diseased or in danger of pushing the outer flint wall over.”

In a statement the Friends say: “The cherry ‘avenue’ was planted just after World War Two and the lifespan of a cherry tree can be as short as 16 – 20 years as they are a sensitive, specimen variety, easily susceptible to be invaded by insects and diseases.

“Indeed, many of the original avenue have already been removed. As far back as 2012, the then Tree Warden used to do tree walks and told us that the cherry trees were due to come down because of their age.

“Thus, it makes perfect sense now to replace trees at the end of their natural life and the whole original avenue be replaced with younger, healthy trees as part of this project.  None are being removed for aesthetic reasons.

“The Friends of Ellington Park have planted over 700 trees and shrubs in the wildlife area, including hawthorn, blackthorn, mirabel, rosa rugosa, and many more.  Planting not assisted by these protesters: how many trees have they planted?

“At the end of this project, the park will look wonderful and be full of healthy trees for the next generation.”

Cllr Steve Albon, Cabinet Member for Operational Services at Thanet council, said: “We’re disappointed to have seen disruption at Ellington Park during the scheduled removal of the trees in the cherry tree avenue area. These trees are being removed as part of a long-established project to restore and renovate Ellington Park.

“The trees have been appropriately surveyed by a specialist team and confirmed that they are at the end of their natural lifespan. New trees will be planted in their place and their tree trunks will also be used elsewhere in the park.

“Due to safety concerns and unauthorised people on the site, work has now been postponed. It was agreed that a meeting would be arranged with the group and ward councillors to share survey findings and talk about the planned removal of trees. No further tree work will be undertaken before the meeting.

“Throughout this process, and by working closely with the Friends of Ellington Park, we have engaged with the community and interested groups regularly. This consultation has resulted in positive changes and adaptations being made for the park as a whole. Ellington Park is on a fantastic regeneration journey, which will benefit our community and give the park a new lease of life.

“As well as the project at Ellington Park, the council is also working on a number of different strands of activity to improve and restore tree cover in Thanet. This includes a Tree and Biodiversity Strategy for Thanet which aims to increase tree cover and to create a functional and beautiful biodiversity network throughout the District, and ongoing support of the national Urban Tree Challenge initiative.”

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police received a report of a protest in Ellington Park, Ramsgate at 10.38am on Wednesday 2 December. Officers attended and spoke to all parties involved. No offences were reported.”

49 Comments

    • Take it none of you so called protesters have been to this park in recent years because the work that the friends of ellington have undertaken over the past years is fantastic and they have preserved and mantained this park over the years yes trees have been removed but more have been planted and the removal of some trees so that new ones can be planted is not the end of the world so instead of moaning about such things why dont you go and get ur hands dirty and help out these people in as much as making a better place that is managed by volunteers and in my book is a much nicer place to sit and walk than it was ten years ago oh bit maybe the ones that protest so much never actually lived here then

      • We walk there almost every day. We are not protesting the planting of new trees, just the removal of healthy specimens when the new young trees could be planted in between them and thus have some protection while they grow, both from the elements and from those who might see a row of young trees as a challenge after a few beers on a Friday night. This was the advice of Kevin Pressman, TDC’s tree officer. It’s also plain common sense. There is no sign of disease in the trees which have been felled. They were in bud, ready for the Spring. I think the Friends of Ellington Park on the whole do a superb job, but in this I think they were mistaken.

  1. So called friends of EP should be hanging their heads in shame. More unaccountable concreting over and commercialisation of nature in an already depleted public space

  2. Indeed cherry trees CAN have a short life span. These ones obviously didn’t have! Not, at least, until someone decided to cut them down. It’s absurd. The cut trunks show no sign of disease whatsoever. A man’s average lifespan in the UK is late 70s. Shall we get rid of them at that age? Just in case? Or let them live.

  3. You sometimes have to cut trees down, no matter where they are. The plans for Ellington Park have been around for a few years and the public has had opportunities to comment.

    Comments on the Thanet Trees facebook group recently have included one which says that the trees in the park are more important than the people who visit it, and other comments accusing the council (predictably) of taking bribes.

    I would like to know whether the members of this group can prove the latter. However, the valuation of trees above human life , if this is a sincere statement and not over-dramatization, is pretty shocking.

  4. I love those cherry trees so I agree with Becky Wing that saplings should have been established first before felling the mature ones. We’ve had problems though with saplings not being able to get going at Ellington as they get vandalised before they can get established so that needs addressing too. I did read all the public consultation documents though (and submitted comments/ attended the public meeting) and am truly excited to see all the changes that will take place in the park. I believe a decent tree survey was conducted to inform the heritage lottery funding and many of the trees should have been replaced years ago. Brilliant job Friends of Ellington park for getting this project off the ground.

  5. I haven’t walked in Ellington park for several years, but ,is it really so impossible to introduce welcome changes without destroying what is already there?
    One problem is that a mature tree provides far more carbon capture than a smaller sapling. So it cannot just be “replaced” by planting another nearby.

    If the ideal of “don’t cut down trees” could be locked into the brains of planners , councils and developers, we might find it possible to design a whole range of buildings, roads, parks and workplaces while NOT despoiling the environment. It shouldn’t need active citizens to protest when trees are cut down. It should be part of the consideration for any plan right from the start.

    • Just take a look on the continent with design of developments integrated into areas with mass trees, business and residential. It looks incredible and the shade from the trees keep the areas cool in summer, bring wildlife into a busy area giving enjoyment to all.
      Why can’t the planning authorities here look abroad for examples of what can be done with mature trees instead of just sitting on arses in offices ticking boxes? There is no imagination whatsoever!

  6. The Friends of Ellington Park say 10 out of 392 trees identified in a 2018 survey at the park have been removed, adding that all were: “either dead, diseased or in danger of pushing the outer flint wall over”

    I to had a survey done on the estate were I was a manager, but the heads in charge said it didnt need doing and disagreed with the recommendations. Two months later one of the trees which was recommended for removal fell, nearly hitting a house. The heads that be soon had the other 6 taken down !

    So would the tree huggers like these diseased, dead or in danger of falling over be happy if the trees were just left to fall and kill someone ? Trees come to a natural end and need to be felled.
    These tree huggers think trees live forever and a maintenance free. You only need to Pollard a tree and they start crying. I guess you start doing some research on tree health and maintenance.
    I love trees but you simply cant save every tree in thanet.

    • We have taken pictures of the fallen trees, no sign of disease. None at all. I have the pictures to show you, if you need proof. It is easy to tell when a tree is diseased. These were not.

        • Ms Shottten has more expertise as Thanet District Council given its ongoing chopping and pesticide spraying of anything green. Tree preservation and successful replanting has proven to be problematic in the 30 years I have been here. Even residents have deliberately destroyed saplings on the rare occasion that tree planting took place, notably in George 6th Park Ramsgate in the early 90’s.

          • When I found saplings of sycamores or other large trees in my previous big garden I took them out . I do so in my current garden, which is very small. I don’t think all trees should be preserved, regardless of where they are growing and the condition they’re in.

          • Ms Shotton might have in your opinion, still waiting for her to publish her professional qualifications with regarding trees ( not horticultural
            ) that would back up your claim.

          • Maria Rees

            I do the same I pull up sycamores saplings from my small garden as well. The last thing I want is a 40 foot tree, blocking out all my sunlight, my grass dying off, tree sap all over ever thing in my garden. Making my garden unusable. In my eye a sycamore tree is a weed tree and non native to this country. I have lots of trees behind me with lots of wild life but I am not prepared to let a self seeding weed tree ruin my garden and the nature wood.

  7. Some of the Friends Of Ellington Park are very rude to anyone asking questions about what is happening. They have little idea about trees at all. Saying trees are due to come down as they are at the end of their life and diseased is rubbish. Those trees were all healthy specimens as can be seen by the stumps left behind. If they are living in good health why take them down ? Would they like it if we said they should be done away with because they are old? No, of course not and the species living in that park can live much longer than anticipated by them obviously if they think the 70 year olds should have only lasted 12 years.
    This was never about that though as it’s plain to see it is about building a huge cafe in the wrong position. I have no gripes with having a cafe and all the other amenities in a park, but they really should plan better to keep the environmental side also. There are very few trees in Thanet now and felling healthy mature and ancient trees in a park just for the sake of it as it seems is just not acceptable. We need more parks full of trees not less.

    • Its amazing how many Arboriculturalist are reply to this article.

      As a novice but a little bit of knowledge I would have thought if the disease had got to the centre of the stump the tree would be a real danger to life. Best to remove it before it gets that far.

      But I bow to all the Arboriculturalist on here

      • “if the disease had got to the centre of the stump the tree would be a real danger to life.” Yes. But these trees were very healthy, budding beautifully ready for a splendid spring display. And nowhere near where the cafe is being built. Criminal.

    • It appears that many points are true — Fact – Friends of Ellington park have done huge amount of preparation and amazing restoration to Ellington Park . True Plans have been mooted abound for a long time however the constant remark of “every one had a chance to make objections is like saying no one can change there mind or be concerned at the actual reality of proposals(esp when it appears to be contrary to normal thinking – chopping down a healthy tree ) The alarm was to see this actually happening ( which i did and also thought it extraordinary ) caused the concerned to doubt the wisdom of TDC s true motives esp in light of huge amount of cutting first and attempt to grow back later which wouldn’t bear fruit for decades at least. And finally liking trees dosn’t make one necessary a tree hugger Mr X ( robot or stooge ?) although if more people did they may discuss this calmer AND when this gets resolved and plain sensible solutions even compromises on all sides then we can all look forward to a better park and environment to live in Thanet .

  8. Look you are dealing with tdc they make there own laws, always have done, bunch of snowflakes,they have never been got for purpose.

    • I think the Ellington Park plans should carry on regardless of Thanet Trees’ interference. A lot of time and energy has been spent on this regeneration plan. It looks good. Some modernization is needed- a new cafe and toilets will be much appreciated by park users.

      Victorian and Edwardian parks can be adapted for modern conditions with new types of planting. I hope that Ellington Park will soon show the benefits of combining its historical features- structures and planting designs- with modern ones.

      • I agree in part Marva, but specifically NOT in relation to felling healthy trees. We are not rich in trees in Thanet and it is a shame, in the face of a declared Climate Emergency, to fell healthy trees. That is all we are saying. We are not being unreasonable and I am certainly not witholding praise for the FOEP where due. I think the park will be much improved with the new cafe and toilets, and the bandstand refurb is absolutely spanking, really impressive. It is with this issue alone I have an issue, together with the disrespectful behaviour of the tree surgeon on site. He later apologised to Becky, so he knows what he did was unprofessional, no matter who argues to the contrary.

  9. I don’t see how anyone who wasn’t actually there could plausibly argue anything about that particular tree surgeon.

    I hope the cherry trees will be replaced by native trees such as rowan, spindle and hawthorn.

    • I was there, Marva, as the pictures show, which I why I feel able to comment. The cherry trees are to be replaced with new young cherry trees. They are cutting down an avenue of old but healthy cherry trees to plant an avenue of cherry trees. You couldn’t make it up. Would you like to be involved in the consultation? I will be.

  10. I don’t want to have anything to do with Thanet Trees. They include people who value trees above human life and that’s enough to discredit them as far as I’m concerned.

    And I don’t like pink.

    • The native varieties are white blossomed wild cherries which you would usually find in woodland, not best suited to the exposed position in the park. They would be lovely in the wild area by the pond, though. I suspect the trees planted will be grafted ornamental cherries, like the ones they are cutting down.

  11. I just want the regeneration of Ellington Park to continue according to plan. I don’t actually care if ornamental cherries are cut down near the end of their lifespan.

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