Passions flared at last night’s spirited Wellingborough Town Council’s extraordinary meeting over the controversial tree felling on The Walks. There was near total condemnation by local residents of North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) and Vistry at the meeting, the council were called “disgraceful” and denounced for their “lack of response” over their actions surrounding the felling of iconic lime trees. This video contains speeches made on the night by local residents and by two councillors.
Over 220 people crammed into the Sir Christopher Hatton Academy in Wellingborough, but there were no representatives from the developers Vistry Group or from NNC at the meeting. Battle lines were drawn as Wellingborough Town Council ‘demanded’ to see tree felling decision evidence and resolved to condemn the felling. Several councillors spoke of their shock learning the fate of the trees, just one week before felling work began, at a site meeting on February 9, 2023 after developers Vistry invited a handful of NNC Wellingborough-area ward councillors.
After hearing powerful speeches from local residents (watch them on this video) and many of the questions submitted, Councillors Valerie Anslow and Marion Turner-Hawes proposed a motion where it was decided to take all steps to protect the trees still standing on London Road and to create a town-wide Tree Preservation Policy where residents would be asked to help find trees around Wellingborough they believe are significant enough to deserve protection under law (as follows).
Wellingborough Town Council agrees:
(1) To demand that NNC supply a clear and transparent audit trail of all planning and highways decisions concerning Route 2 and ‘The Walks’ by the end of March 2023
(2) To commit to taking all necessary steps within its powers to safeguard all the protected trees in The Walks in Wellingborough.
(3) To create a town-wide Tree Preservation Policy and work with the local community and partners to identify and apply for Tree Preservation Orders for all significant Wellingborough Trees.
The felling of up to 61 trees along The Walks to allow works access to the creation of a dual carriageway along the A509 and expansion of the Tesco roundabout was revealed by Wellingborough Town Councillor Marion Turner-Hawes on February 14. The Save Our Trees campaign was launched by local residents, who argue an active Tree Protection Order protects the trees from felling, which included six people being arrested and two climbing up the trees to prevent them being removed. Despite these protests, 15 trees were cut down before work was paused last Thursday (March 2).
Following a meeting with NNC, Vistry Group agreed to pause the felling until after they have held a public consultation with residents expected within the month. We hope that you enjoy the speeches from local residents, and this inspires you to join the SAVE OUR TREES campaign. Unfortunately there is still plenty of fighting to stop the historic limes on The Walks from being cut down. More updates soon on our social media channels and via a new website due to be published next week…
8,000 people have signed the petition so far, have you? Please sign at https://chng.it/546dTcGTYc
Video recordings made by Councillor Emily Fedorowycz, Kettering Green Party.