Having received the great news of permission to take our Judicial Review case to be heard at the High Court, we need £30,000 to get there to SAVE OUR TREES. So, just like the poster, that’s our new target, and we hope that you will help us hit it!
Click on the QR Code on the poster to go directly to the new Crowdfund page or on one of the links below…
The High Court has reviewed our application for Judicial Review and on 18th October 2023 it granted us permission to take our case against the Council to a full hearing at the High Court in London! Not only that, the judge stated that the case is a ‘matter of public importance’. We couldn’t agree more!
As you can imagine we are delighted with this news and remain determined to have our day in court to put the details of this case before the Judge. Ultimately we hope this will save our treasured ‘Wellingborough Walks Trees’ and make Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) actually mean something across the country!
To get to court we need to raise £30,000, plus a further £10,000 in case we loose. Clearly in dealing with such big entities the odds are stacked against us, but we believe there is enough in our case to be successful and so does our legal team.
We must acknowledge all the amazing contributions that so many people have already made and say a massive THANK YOU to all those who have already contributed to our campaign. You and the people of our town and beyond have been truly inspiring, helping us raise more than £44,000 so far. However, the work to get us to this point including the process of attempting to reach a mutually agreed solutions, has meant that we have already spent more than £39,000 of this fund.
So we are asking you, your friends, family, local organisations and communities everywhere, to help us get over the line, raise this money and get this case heard in the High Court, for the benefit of communities everywhere.
The case we are bringing fundamentally is about ensuring that TPO trees remain properly protected. We are challenging the Council around their decision making in this matter and how they allowed, and could still allow, this to happen when valid TPOs are in place.
Given this, we hope that you and people across the country who hold the preservation of trees and our heritage dear (just like for the beautiful tree at Sycamore Gap), will feel inspired to support to this campaign and help us have our ‘day in court’ to SAVE OUR TREES!
We are delighted that the judge today has granted us permission to continue with our claim in the High Court to save Wellingborough Walks Trees.
The judge has said this is a ‘matter of public importance’. We couldn’t agree more. Given today’s news, we will continue our preparations for the upcoming trial, as well as our work to raise the funds we need to have our day in court to save the protected trees on Wellingborough Walks.
We have not seen the latest plans of Stanton Cross Developments LLP for London Road roundabout, but we remain ready to consider any proposal that will protect the trees.
Our next step is to continue to raise the funds we need, and to this end we will shortly be launching a new fundraising appeal to make sure we have the resources to take this case forward.
Finally, on behalf of Wellingborough Walks Action Group committee and members, we want to say a massive thank you to all the people from the community of Wellingborough (and beyond) that have come out and supported us to save the trees, demonstrating, and putting their hands in their pockets to make sure that the people of our town are always heard on the things that are important to us.
We still have a long way to go, but this is a marvelous milestone in our journey for justice for our community, and our heritage and environment which we cherish.
Marion Turner-Hawes Chairperson Lucianne Hennessy Director Wellingborough Walks Action Group Ltd
In respect of any protests going forward, we been made aware of new laws that apply to demonstrations. Please see below a link to the terms of the Public Order Act 2023. Significant parts of this went live this year as some as recently as early July.
Please see section 6 of part 1, which talks about the new offence of ‘Obstruction of major transport works’
With a basic understanding having read this, it seems extremely likely that had this legislation been in place, the Police could have used this power to prevent any and all of the ‘obstruction’ activities that protesters took part in in February, and that they could have used this much sooner in the process.
Section 6, point 2a, does say that a defence can be offered by a person if they can prove that they had ‘reasonable excuse’ for causing an obstruction, however, it does not define what ‘reasonable excuse means’. We would like to think that by trying to prevent a crime from happening, that would be a reasonable defence, but who knows?
Other new offences that could apply include:
the offence of ‘Locking on’ and causing a disruption to two or more people
the offence of having tools etc with you that could be for ‘locking on’
the offence of being equipped for tunneling
As the demonstrations that are being considered by people on Friday are likely not to be causing an obstruction or disruption to two people or more away from dwelling places; and as long as people gather on the grass and make sure not to block a pathway or roadway, these demonstrations should be fine.
We have contacted the police, local inspector Miriam said the protest may get called in, but as long as everybody is complying with the rules and not blocking pavements, roadways or locking onto anything then everybody should be fine.
Please note that it is important to point out that anyone who takes part in any protest to SAVE OUR TREES is acting as an individual, and it is everyone’s individual responsibility to comply with the law. As we are not lawyers or police officers, we have to advise anyone who wishes to protest to check with a lawyer or with the police before doing so (whether acting individually or as part of a group, company or organisation).
Join us at the trees on The Walks at The Embankment 8-10am this Friday to mark the end of the pause of felling by the developers. They are very unlikely to be chopping down trees on September 1st, but there their guarantee ends, so we need to be vigilant. Our trees are now at risk!
This will be a friendly protest, we don’t expect any contractors or police there, and we aren’t looking to disrupt anyone’s day. Your support is needed, join us to meet some familiar faces from the campaign, to chat about what we have done and to show that our campaign to SAVE OUR TREES is very much still ongoing.
Update from Tree Action Public Information Event
Thank you to the 80 plus people that came to our two Tree Action Public Information Events on Wednesday 23rd August. From the feedback that we have, the event was well received and informative. Many people that attended have supported us both financially and in person at the protests and at our events.
For both sessions, people came in had a cup of tea of tea or coffee, chatted to the helpers and looked at our displays. People then went into the main meeting room and were treated to a presentation. We promised you and others that have requested, the information, so, excluding a few introductory slides, follow this link for the presentation:
Now we potentially enter a new phase in our campaign, we trust that you are still with us, see you on Friday morning. Thank you for your support!
Thank you to the 80 plus people that came to our two Tree Action Public Information Events on Wednesday 23rd August. From the feedback that we have, the event was well received and informative. Many people that attended have supported us both financially and in person at the protests and at our events. Thank you for your support!
For both sessions, people came in had a cup of tea of tea or coffee, chatted to the helpers and looked at our displays. People then went into the main meeting room and were treated to a presentation. We promised you and the 20 or so others that have also requested, the information, so, excluding a few introductory slides, here is the presentation:
Aim of the Session
• Update you on present situation • Explain What We have been doing • Let you know how the money has been spent • Offer a chance for you to ask questions • Go through the next steps • Ask for your Ideas and your help • Raise more funds for the campaign
Saving the Walks Trees – How we got here
• Heard of planned felling 12th Feb 2023 • Found the Trees had Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) on them • Worked to get ‘a pause’ but could not • Developer felled 16 of planned 61 TPO trees • Found Barrister (Paul Powesland) to help and received legal advice • He blocked more felling by climbing a tree • North Northamptonshire Council and the developer agreed a temp pause (3rd March) • Wellingborough Walks Action Group Limited non profit company formed (17th March) • Wellingborough Town Council held Public Meeting (9th March) and agreed to help • Developer held public meeting (23rd March) • North Northamptonshire Council announced further pause in during Bird Nesting Season • Wellingborough Walks Action Group Limited appointed legal team Harrison Grant Ring
Legal Actions so far
• Lodged for Judicial Review (JR) on 18th May and immediately asked for a ‘stay’ • All parties met on 19th May at Swanspool House • We recruited a Highways Engineer to help • He produced report detailing minor changes to save trees • Judge instructed us all to try and come to ‘out of court’ agreement (ADR) • ADR started 21st June, we signed mediation and confidentially agreement • Technical meeting happened on 30th June, all parties discussed WWAG ideas • All parties wrote requesting further ‘stay’ to end August 2023 • Judge agreed adjournment to 1st September on 17th July • Developer confirmed would not touch the trees in period • Developer withdrew from ‘out of court’ discussions, ADR ended • Developer now doing its own ‘technical review’ • We wrote to ask the developer to confirm they wont fell trees before JR ends
‘Out of Court’ Discussions – our ideas….
• Wellingborough Walks Action Group Limited believe the trees could be saved by making a few ‘minor’ adjustments to the roundabout design • We offered discussions on this basis • Court could be avoided for all and road happen anyway • Changes – under S278 process – not new planning application • Simon (Engineer) produced report suggesting adjustments • These minor adjustments are…
Summary of Reports Suggestions
• Northern Trees – (2 trees) could save by adjusting footpath/cycle-path around them • Central Trees – (6 trees) could retain as within planned island • Eastern Trees – (inner line of protected trees south of roundabout) – could save by not building new cycle path if tree root protection area allows • Western Trees – (tree line closest to road) – could save most by moving lanes over to opposite side of road
Gas Main Issue
• One issue mentioned by the Developer at their public event on 23rd March was the matter of the Gas Main cutting across the southern side of the roundabout, and the likelihood that some protected trees would need to be felled to make way for works to re- enforce this pipe on both sides of the road which would extend a short way into the ‘Whitworth’s Field’ and the ‘Embankment Field’. • As Information shared by the Developer at their public event also showed, the gas main is accompanied by an easement, which means that works can be carried out on this gas main under the terms of the easement, whether the land is publicly or privately owned (Board 6). We believe this easement should allay the developer’s concerns • We hope the Developers’ revised technical S278 report for the roundabout will be shared with us and that it incorporates the Highways Engineer’s suggested modifications
Money Raised and Spent so far
• We have raised just over £43,000, AMAZING! Thank you • We have spent just over £38,000, leaving about £5,000 • 97% of all money has been spent on legal costs (£36,779) • Total help from lawyers so far is 104 hours • Consultant costs £3,000 and barrister = £7770 (included above)
• Volunteer Time, over 1,000 hours contributed by the Wellingborough Walks Action Group Limited Management Committee and helpers so far, also amazing! • Many people also paying for items for fundraising events, running stalls and we even entered the carnival (and were judged as the best entrant!) • Wonderful events delivered including Music at the Museum, Bingo Nights and an auction. • Performers at the museum sung for free!
Next Legal Steps
• From 1st Sept 2023, judge to review Judicial Review papers and decide on if we have ‘permission’ to go to court. • If judge agrees, our case goes to The High Court. • Approximately 3 months after permission given, the case heard in The High Court • If permission not given, we can request time with the court for an in person Renewal Hearing. • If successful, can then we go to The High Court. • Renewal process adds approximately a further 1- 3 months to the process.
Further Legal Costs
• We have paid all costs up to JR permission review. • If permission granted, cost approximately is £27,500 (inc VAT) to get to The High Court • If permission refused and renewal hearing required – cost approximately is £8,500 (inc VAT) plus high court costs above if renewal successful; therefore total of £36,000 approx (inc VAT) • If we go to court and lose, we need a further £10,000 for other parties costs • If we require injunction to prevent felling before JR concluded we need approximately a further £8,400 (inc VAT)
Very daunting. Lots more fundraising to do!
Raising More Funds. Your Ideas
There is a significant amount of money still to raise, we want to know:
Do we have your support to keep going?
What other things can we all do to raise more funds?
Can you help us to go forward?
• As well as needing financial support, we also need time and help! • Can you help? • How, when? • Could you be on the Committee? • Can you help run events and raise funds? • Could you do letter writing to raise funds? • Could you speak to businesses? • What ideas do you have?
After the presentation, everyone, chatted with the Committee Members, had more refreshments, bought a few SAVE OUR TREES t-shirts, polo shirts and bags (buy here) and the press took a few photos and videos. Also at the event was a short video display of our SAVE OUR TREES story in pictures so far, warning it does contain some upsetting images.
It includes the campaigners protesting, trees being felled, our meetings at councils and the developer, and some highlights of our activities to raise funds and awareness since the felling was paused. With the pause coming to an end and the possibility of the rest of the trees being felled from 1st September, we held a Tree Action Public Information Event to keep our supporters updated during a period of calm, before the battles that could be. Have a watch.
Keeping in touch
For more information go to our website or see our Facebook Page. To contact us please fill in the form below:
You can also send us an email or call 07954 082802 if you prefer.
We, Wellingborough Walks Action Group, invite you to a Tree Action Public Information Event on Wednesday 23rd August. It will take place at the Quaker Meeting House, we will have two sessions (with the option of a third if needed). You will need a ticket to attend (tickets are free).
Purpose of the event:
Update people about the present situation.
Be open and accountable to supporters.
Explain what we have been doing and what we have been spending the money on.
Help people understand our approach re-the out of court action.
Explain some next steps.
Things we plan to cover in the information session:
How we got here
Background to the TPO situation
Felling action from 12th Feb 2023 to 30th March 2023
Then from 18th May to present
Go through our strategy and ‘Out of Court’ resolution approach.
How we spent your donations.
Our fundraising approach.
How you can help going forward.
Agenda for Session:
Opening remarks and Presentation
Questions and answers
Display board and information available to look at and read
Refreshments will be available
Book your ticket:
Please choose your session and the number of tickets you require on this form:
We will email your tickets to you, they are free and you will need to show them to enter, see you there! (This information is also available on our Tree Action Public Information Event page)
Join us at 6:30pm on Friday 18th August to play Bingo at St Andrews Church Hall for our next fundraising event, it is fun for the whole family; and it’s just £10 per person to play and this time it includes food! Tickets are now available to buy now.
The food will be jacket potatoes, available with a choice of meat chili, vegan chili, beans, cheese and/or homemade coleslaw, plus a help yourself buffet on the night. Tea, coffee, soft drinks, and cakes will be on sale. We will also have a raffle! We are raising funds for legal action to save the lime trees on The Walks in Wellingborough. Buy your Bingo Tickets now by clicking on the button, please add one ticket per player to reserve your spot(s)!
Jonathan Reynolds proudly presents an evening of song featuring six fabulous local vocalists, all performing to support the legal action being taken by Wellingborough Walks Action Group Limited to SAVE OUR TREES.
Book your tickets here, and we will email them to you; and then join us to be entertained on Saturday 15th July at 7:30pm at Wellingborough Museum. Doors open at 7, don’t miss out!
Artists include Claire Desborough, Lis Page, Anita Walker, Neil Richardson, Jon Reynolds, and John Simpson; all local performers who have featured in many well-known shows (some West End) throughout their careers. The music will consist of numbers from popular shows, musical theatre, and Swing.
Do join us for what promises to be a great evening’s entertainment.
I wanted to let you know I, on behalf of Wellingborough Walks Action Group Ltd (WWAG Ltd), have just started a crowdfunding project for which we are aiming to raise £20,000 to further help challenge the planned felling of a further 24 trees from the historic Wellingborough Walks’, one of the longest avenues of lime trees in the country.
As you will see on the video, we have already raised an amazing amount of funding, but legal work is very expensive and our desire to try and resolve things outside of court is also adding to this expense. We have worked hard to resolve this issue and we are likely to require up to a further £20,000.
I know this sounds an enormous amount but since this campaign started in February 2023, we have already raised an amazing £25,000. People have been so kind and so generous. It’s clear many people from across Wellingborough and beyond fully appreciate the importance of this beautiful avenue of trees to the local community and to all of us as we work to cherish our natural environment and this vital amentiy.
As many of you will be aware, ‘the Walks’ in Wellingborough stretch from the town centre to the river, with many of the 189 trees (now 173 after 16 were felled in Feb) on the Walks more than 180 years old. This avenue of trees, and the river they join, would have been the last part of Wellingborough many young men and women going out into the world or off to the Boer Wars, and the first and second world wars would have seen. It would also have been the first of the town to welcome people returning, where they could.
Residents of our town are so determined to save these protected trees that we even set up a not-for-profit company (Wellingborough Walks Action Group Ltd) to do all we can to make this happen. Through this many hundreds of hours of time have been volunteered to take this campaign forward for our community., and we are clear you continue to support us to permanently SAVE THE TREES.
Please have a look at our Crowdfunder page and help us if you can to raise further funds to take the Judicial Review case to Court and save the protected Trees on Wellingborough Walks. All contributions are so gratefully accepted. I would love it if you could donate using the link below to access my project page. Any contribution large or small will be hugely appreciated.
We have heard back from the Court following the submission deadline last Friday. Given all the info provided the Judge has instructed that a form of dispute resolution MUST happen between now and 11th July, when the Judge will sit down and review the case we submitted and the other party’s defence. Between now and then he is requiring:
that SCD provide us with the info we have requested about how many trees they say need to be felled and why.
he instructs that we need to respond to that info with our ideas within 7 days.
that we all need to meet to discuss possible changes to the roundabout design no later than 23rd June. And any alternative solution need to be sent to the Court by 10th July.
So we have a clear time table for action. This is a bit of a win for us as we were the only party proposing such an approach with the intention of getting agreement outside of court. We await the info we requested many weeks ago.