Deputy Mayor Councillor Nick Sandford has called for a full inquiry into the events which led to the felling of a 600-year-old oak tree in Peterborough this week.
After a year of campaigning, protestors saw their bid to save the oak tree, formerly located in Ringwood, Bretton, ultimately fail. After a County Court judge dismissed their case on Tuesday (June 28) due to a lack to jurisdiction to deal with the matter, the council moved quickly to commence the felling of the tree, which it ordered earlier this month.
The council has insisted that a key driver its decision was that the alternative to felling could cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds in repairs to a nearby home that an insurance company has asserted was being damaged by the roots of the tree, and legal fees.
Arguments are still ongoing as to the legality of the council’s actions to fell the tree but it has now almost been completed, much to the anger of several politicians.
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Cllr Sanford tweeted: “There are not many days that I am ashamed to be a member of Peterborough City Council. Seeing my city disgraced brings me no pleasure, just deep sadness at the way they treat residents and nature.
"Shameful behaviour by Peterborough City Council today. Their net zero carbon by 2030 target is now nothing more than a sick joke.
"I am calling for a full scrutiny inquiry held in public on the "Bretton Oak" debacle. We must learn lessons, make public the true costs and ensure this never happens again.”
Peterborough Green Party, which has Orton Waterville ward councillors Cllr Nicola Day and Cllr Kirsty Knight on the council, said: “We are deeply saddened by the felling of the Bretton Oak Tree. Our councillors have continually supported the residents & campaigners. Our hearts go out to all those who have fought for the tree. We have become part of an amazing community of people.
Labour Group leader Councillor Shaz Nawaz has supported the calls of Cllr Sandford, he added: “Once again our city is embarrassed by the Tory led administration on Peterborough City Council.
"Residents views are ignored and environmental concerns trampled on. We need a full investigation into the felling of the Bretton Oak.”
Despite the defeat, protestors- who fought so hard both in the lead up to the felling and on the day itself- have vowed to continue to fight to protect the trees of the city.
Bretton Parish Cllr Lady Collette Francis said: “I want to thank every single one of you for everything you have done and all of the support you have given us over these 366 days.
“I leave you with this to think about. We named our group the Trees of Peterborough. This is for a reason. Yes, this year has been about the oak, but we are looking to the bigger scale of things. We want to challenge the council's decisions on felling Peterborough’s trees as a group as a whole and make sure proper processes are followed.
"Please bare with us whilst we recharge our batteries after 366 days of campaigning. We will be back and we will keep pushing for a better Peterborough.”