Tree’s a crowd

There are times when you feel life just can’t get any better, the sun shines brightly, you get a lovely email from an old friend and then you write a paragraph that is so good, it ought to be engraved on a gold bar and kept by the British Library in their extra-specially-good section.

And then you speak to Hackney Council.

I live on a council estate in Hackney. I am, at present, trying to get Tree Protection Orders put on the trees on my estate. I sent off an application in September and have not followed it up due to moving to Cornwall/changing life malarkey.

On 6th Dec we got a notice that three of the trees on the estate are going to be chopped down. Yesterday I called Nick who deals with the TPOs as they are known. This person is not the same person who does the assessments on the trees or is responsible for looking after them, but an architect who also deals with planning applications. The logic of this is not at all clear to me, but I have every confidence that it does make sense to someone, somewhere.

My TPO application is in his in-tray. He apologises for not looking at it. He tells me he doesn’t know much about trees but that he keeps putting TPO on trees at the request of residents and no one seems to stop him.

Great, I thought, someone on my side. It might not be the most democratic process but hey, if it means I can save the copper beech and cherry blossom that add so much to my inner city life, then I don’t mind.

Then he said, ‘The thing is, if we get a TPO put on the trees and then Planning cut them down anyway, there isn’t anything we can do, because Hackney can’t sue itself.’

‘Could I sue Planning?’ I ask.


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