St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

Graphic: Three trees , worker wielding chainsaw crossed out
Text: Out three St Matthew’s Piece Trees – Saved!

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.

Aerial view of the three trees

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!

Graphic: Trees with hearts
From Friends of St Matthew’s Piece

Moreover, St Matthew’s Piece needs support in protection from inappropriate development. Scroll down to read more


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

Blogposts on other issues concerning St Matthew’s Piece

Proposed St Matthew’s Piece development inbound list above

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.

Notify me when

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments (Don't forget to scroll down to subscribe to website updates.)
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Comments welcome...x