Campaigners who have occupied a plot of land in Margate to protest at the planned felling of a Sycamore tree have created a stage, treating passers-by to some live music this afternoon (April 28).
Members of Save the Duke Street Tree moved onto the Duke Street plot yesterday and say they intend to be on site day and night as they stage their protest.
Permission to fell the tree was originally given in 2018 as part of an approval for a planning application to develop the site.
A notification of works this month was submitted by Duns Developments, based in Luton, for removal of the tree to clear the site ahead of building a four-storey property with five flats and a commercial unit.
The area the tree is in was one of two plots that were earmarked as garden sites under a Countdown to Turner scheme in 2011. However despite a spend of £7,881 on design, consultation and soil sample for the site and another at Cobbs Place, the gardens did not come to fruition.
The site was then sold at auction and permission subsequently granted for the flats development.
Members of the Thanet Trees and Mature Trees Matter facebook groups mounted a campaign to save the tree.
Campaigners of Save The Duke Street Sycamore say they will pursue legal action and have now spoken to a barrister. A petition has been launched and work is taking place on a fundraiser.
Meanwhile campaigners continue their occupation of the site and have been entertaining themselves and passers-by with music by duo Elephant’s Eye on their ‘main stage.’ Numbers included a rendition of Revolution by The Beatles.
The group has also made an appeal on their facebook page for a fire pit as temperatures are expected to be chilly this evening.
Thanet council says: “Consent to approve the felling of the sycamore tree in Duke Street, Margate was granted by the Planning Committee in June 2018, prior to the council’s Climate Emergency declaration.
“At the time, greater weight was given to using the site, which is in a Conservation Area, in a positive way and the recent notice to the council of intention to fell the tree took this previous permission and full planning analysis into consideration.”
The authority says it will be working hard to ensure more trees are planted across the district.