Treehugging in London 4.12.2010


Reading about trees, councils and insurance can consume loads of time. Fortunately it isn’t all depressing.

Near London there are towns where treehuggers have actually won some of their battles. In St Albans, north of London, there’s a park called Verulamium Park. It has some dead or dying trees and a supporters group, the Friends of Verulamium Park, have been campaigning to have these replaced.

The photo of the park is from a blog entry at It looks stunning.

The park is named after the Roman City of the same name. It holds the remains of the ancient city walls and the London Gate. 

It has a beautiful ornamental lake. ‘Construction started on this project during 1929 and gave much-needed work to the unemployed during the depression.’ (From ) Anyway, back to the park’s trees. The Ealing Times had a news item by Alex Lewis (30th Nov 2010) about the efforts of the Friends to replace them:

‘Users of Verulamium Park have persuaded the district council to work with them in replacing dead and dying trees.

‘In response to a petition with 1,157 signatures, the authority has promised to co-operate with the Friends of Verulamium Park, who say the quality of trees has badly deteriorated.

‘Councillor Anthony Rowlands, cabinet member for leisure, said: “The Friends of Verulamium Park do an excellent job in sustaining public interest and involvement in our most treasured green space

‘“The council looks forward to working with the Friends to ensure that new trees are planted and that there are opportunities for sponsorship by members of the public.”

‘A planting programme will go forward in the spring, after tests to make sure the park’s underground Roman remains will not be damaged.

‘Madeleine Sansom of the Friends of Verulamium Park said: “We wanted to draw the councillors’ attention to the continuing delay in replacing dead and dying trees and to urge immediate action.”” (As usual, the emphasis is mine.)

Some of the differences, of course, between Verulamium Park and Laman Street are

  • the number of signatures on the petition – we’re approaching 10 000 in Laman Street.
  • the apparent willingness of council to work with the community.
  • the health of our trees: even Mr Marsden, the council-appointed arborist whose report damned our trees alleging inadequate roots, said they’re healthy trees.
  • the fact that the council responsible for Verulamium Park recognise the importance of the park to the community, unlike, it would seem, our council managers. You can use the word iconic as many times as you like but when you’re hell-bent on felling said iconic trees it doesn’t seem as though you Get It.

Anyway – have to pick up a child from a birthday party. I’ll get to pass by the annual Art Bazaar on my way home: everyone still misses having it in Laman Street, but the Spin Marches On – or at least keeps on spinning: we couldn’t have people under those scary fig trees.

A year ago the bazaar had to be moved with about three days’ notice because we were all likely to be crushed by a tree at any moment. Still waiting for a tree or branch to fall. Home


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