Call-Off Of Cherry Tree Planting Event Blossoms Into Full Scale Row
Local councillor accused of 'undermining democracy'
Cherry trees in Chiswick- not the variety planned for Turnham Green
A row has erupted over the cancellation of a community planting of cherry trees for Turnham Green.
Local councillor Jo Biddolph was accused of ordering council officials to cancel the event which was scheduled for Saturday (February 15th).
A decision to plant cherry trees, which were funded by an anonymous donor, was made at the recent Friends of Turnham Green AGM.
There was a majority vote in favour of planting cherry trees although some dissenting voices remarked that the ground can get messy when the fruit falls off.
Karen Liebreich of Abundance London, who is spearheading the planting, said Cllr Biddolph was overturning a democratic vote by cancelling the planting.
She wrote on our forum: "I have been in discussion for the last few days with the Head of Parks who had received a complaint from Cllr Biddolph. Yesterday the Head of Environment emailed me to say he had received representation from the councillor insisting he cancel the planting.
"Cllr Biddolph was present at the Friends AGM which overwhelmingly voted in favour of the cherry trees. One resident spoke of her hatred of cherries because of the mess they make on her shoes; she has since written me an offensive email. Cllr Biddolph is presumably responding to this resident. I don't know, as the Cllr has not bothered to speak to me or to the Chair of Turnham Green Friends, but has acted unilaterally. She has taken it upon herself to issue an edict; the council officers feel obliged to obey.
"Her actions not only run counter to local democratic procedure (a vote at a well-attended meeting of local residents) but to local and government strategy which recommends increased tree planting. The trees are filling the gaps within the existing avenues & those between the rockery & the church are non-fruiting.
"I am astonished that the Cllr should act in this way - the day before a public planting, trees all bought and ready, volunteers assembled."
The issue has led to a debate on our forum. One resident commented: "I've met quite a few local residents who, whilst they support the planting of trees they question the choice of Cherry trees because of the mess they leave after they've fruited. I know the cherry stones are not easy to clear up, uncomfortable to walk on and can get between the toes of our canine friends."
We have asked Cllr Biddolph for her version of events and will report back.
February 15, 2020