Letter: The council had to do the right thing because they had no other option

With regard to your “’Suitable outcome’ for Sheffield memorial trees” article of April 14, firstly I would like to say how lovely Western Road now looks.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 1:58 pm
Flexipave on Western Road, Crookes.

I walk up and down the road twice a day and I’m so delighted at the end result of the works including the employment of well-judged and sympathetic engineering solutions.

I would like to clarify a couple of things in the article though. The key reason for the retention of the memorial trees wasn’t the agreement made between the council and Streets Ahead contractor, Amey. The fundamental reason the trees are still there is because campaigners had made the council’s tree felling activity unsustainable. Without South Yorkshire Police’s continued willingness to provide the required number of police officers at fellings, attended by increasing numbers of protestors, the council simply couldn’t carry on. In addition to this, through monitoring of social media, the council were aware that any attempt to fell Western Road’s memorial trees would have been doomed to failure. Crews wouldn’t have been able to move for protestors. The people of Sheffield wouldn’t have allowed it to happen.

Finally, a word about the estimated cost of £500,000 for the work. The original engineering plans were deliberately formulated to be prohibitively expensive in order to afford the council’s cabinet justification to vote for the felling of the memorial trees. We can see today on Western Road that those plans featuring five metre long build-outs to accommodate the trees were exaggerated. In the end, the council had to do the right thing because they had no other option.

Martin Pickles

S10