Residents of Tooting and Streatham are up in arms after Wandsworth Council have made plans to chop down chestnut trees on Tooting Common, some of which are 150 years old.
In a street, ironically named, Chestnut Avenue it seems, if local authority plans go ahead then it will be Chestnut Avenue in name only, due to a lack of Chestnut Trees.
On Monday workmen arrived and installed a tall green fence to restrict access to the area.
Friends of Tooting Common took to Twitter to ask the council of the legality of their actions in installing the barrier.
Letters have been sent to residents in the surrounding area, saying that 51 trees will be felled while 64 replacements will be planted.
While the flyer did not specify when the works would occur, it did reiterate plans announced by the council as well as previous public consultations and commissioned reports, the Wandsworth Guardian has reported.
Local residents have attracted more than 4,500 signatures as part of the #StoptheChop campaign. The outraged locals have taken to social media in an effort to save the trees.
Tooting MP Dr Rosena Allin-Khan said: “This is probably the most current local issues because what it represents is that it’s not just a bunch of residents who are tree-hugging individuals who don’t want to see foliage cut down. It’s the principle that you don’t have a voice as a local resident, if you can’t communicate with your local council and have a voice.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has spoken out about the council operation taking place in Chestnut Avenue, urging Wandsworth Council to ‘urgently review the research which has been produced’.
Local residents say that the council is wrong though, and say that independent inspections go against what the council has said.
Deputy council leader Jonathan Cook has said to local media that: “The simple fact of the matter is that the council is proposing to plant 64 semi-mature small leafed lime trees along Chestnut Avenue. These trees are already nearly 20 feet tall and will ensure a healthy and flourishing tree-lined avenue is preserved on the common for future generations to enjoy.
“They will replace 51 horse chestnuts that have been assessed by different teams of experts as being in decline and approaching the end of their natural lifespan. A combination of old age and disease means they are unlikely to survive in their current form for any significant length of time and will unfortunately soon become much more susceptible to loss of limb or sudden collapse”.
Authorities claim that the trees pose a danger to passers-by. We will keep you updated on this story as it develops.