At the 1st November 2023 Cambridge City Council Planning Committee meeting, the three 125-year-old threatened London Plane Trees along Sturton Street were vigorously and successfully defended.
Relief after Cambridge park’s mature trees saved from the chop By Alex Spencer, Cambridge Independent, 01 November 2023
Around 40-50 members of the public lined the outer rows of seats in the main Council chamber. Some carried banners and placards, which were held aloft throughout.
Powerful and clear speeches in strong defence of the trees were given by Friends of St Matthew’s Piece, by all three of our Petersfield ward Councillors – Councillor Mike Davey, Labour, Leader of the Council; Councillor Richard Robertson, Labour; Councillor Katie Thornburrow, Labour, Executive Councillor for Planning, Building Control and Infrastructure – and also by Councillor Jean Glasberg, Newnham, Green Party, Green & Independent (Spokes) for Communities, Open Spaces and City Services, Climate Action and Environment.
Several of these speeches cited recent incisive legal input from the highly respected expert planning solicitor Richard Buxton. This is not the first time Richard has been key to protecting St Matthew’s Piece. See March & July 2007 in – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.)
A thorough and penetrating debate took place about many aspects of the application to fell these three trees. All of the voting Planning Committee Members diligently interrogated the complex issues objectively. Most made a point of specifically mentioning the many emails they had received directly from local residents – these clearly had an important impact.
The decision to refuse the application was finally taken – and it was unanimous – to the enormous relief and delight of all the Friends of St Matthew’s Piece supporters in the chamber. Robust and detailed ‘Reasons to Refuse’ were then formally agreed.
🌳🌳🌳 We must all remain vigilant, to continue to ensure these precious trees last another 125 years – and more!
Moreover, St Matthew’s Piece needs support in protection from inappropriate development. Scroll down to read more
🌳🌳🌳 THE ESSENTIAL BACKGROUND
The area around St Matthew’s Piece lies in the bottom 20% nationally of the ‘Environment Domain’ in the government’s Index of Multiple Deprivation.
This – St Matthew’s Piece Timeline 1890–2020 (Click to open in Google Docs.) – is the history of how the land on which these trees stand was bought in the 1890s, with public money – and given to the local community forever … but then lost by our local councils. The current owners are multinational banking interests and property investors.
Local residents have been fighting to protect and conserve local amenity and environmental assets via Friends of St Matthew’s Piece since 30th April 2020 – and, before that, via Petersfield Area Community Trust, since 1998). Friends of St Matthew’s Piece stand on the shoulders of the giants who, 100 years earlier, in 1898 had established St Matthew’s Piece. This included planting the magnificent London Plane trees that provide all of us with such wonderful benefits today.
🌳🌳🌳 Earlier blogposts on the three trees
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Crucial Meeting 31 October 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – The Final Frontier? 27 October 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – “Why don’t the planners…?” 15 August 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Safe? 5 August 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – STILL under threat! 28 July 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees (Again) 11 February 2023
- St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Under Threat 28 May 2022
Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece
- Victory for Friends of St Matthew’s Piece 25 March 2021
- Wildflowers for St Matthew’s Piece 6 November 2020
- Peace campaigner now speaks up for the Piece 19 September 2020
- Super Matt says Save St Matthew’s Piece! 20 August 2020
- “These images are like a nightmare” 7 July 2020
- Protect St Matthew’s Piece 23 June 2020
- Residents object to St Matthew’s Piece development 20 May 2020
If you would like to join Friends of St Matthew’s Piece or assist in any of the issues raised in this and other blogposts about St Matthew’s Piece, kindly hosted by Mill Road Bridges, please email Friends of St Matthew’s Piece.