Following the row over the cherry trees that were to have been planted on Turnham Green, the trees will now be planted in Heston rather than Chiswick.
Cllr Joanna Biddolph blocked the tree planting on 15 February because she said members of the Friends of Turnham Green community group had raised ‘concerns’. .Jill Spencer, a member of the Friends’ Landscape committee, had complained that the decision hadn’t been made properly, despite a majority 21-7 vote at the Friends’ AGM in January in favour of planting the non-fruiting trees to fill in the gaps in an existing avenue of cherry trees.
Cllr Samia Chaudhary, Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said today: “Despite productive meetings between members of the local community, unfortunately the tree planting event organised by the Friends of Turnham Green, which was postponed from February 15, has not been able to progress.
“The council has ambitions to see thousands of trees planted across the borough. We appreciate the efforts residents went to to get the cherry trees and understand their disappointment that the planting hasn’t happened.
“We have agreed to reimburse the costs of the trees and are relocating them to Sutton Row Park, Heston, where the local community has been planning a planting. The council always likes to support community groups who want to improve their local areas, and the borough, and hopefully agreement can be reached and and new trees will be planted on Turnham Green soon”.
The trees were to have been paid for by a private donation, along with other trees, yet to be decided on, elsewhere on the Green. But as a result of the cancellation of the tree planting the anonymous donor withdrew the offer.
Both Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who organised the planting, and Rebecca Frayn, former chair of Friends of Turnham Green, resigned from the group in protest.
“Once a tiny minority, supported by Councillor Joanna Biddolph, successfully blocked our planting day last Saturday, despite the overwhelming vote in favour of the tree-planting at our well attended AGM, it became apparent that they had now set a precedent whereby a motion passed by a majority of our members will only actually be implemented if that vocal minority, together with Councillor Biddolph happen to agree with it” said Rebecca.