Lovely, isn’t it. Shame it isn’t an oak.
Reading between the lines, it seems to me that the crime this beautiful Copper Maple tree that shades the garden at The British Oak has committed is that it isn’t – well, a British Oak. The landlord has applied for permission to fell it, claiming that “The foliage canopy covers the whole seating area of the garden allowing no light into it”.
Thing is, judging from this photo, taken at 3.00pm last Monday afternoon, that just patently isn’t true. The seating area is clearly in plain sun. His other claim is that the tree attracts pigeons and squirrels, which upset the customers.
NEWSFLASH: Phantom Towers has a surfeit of pigeons and squirrels too, which is quite incredible, since I am not aware of a Copper Maple anywhere nearby.
Peter tells me that far from being ‘upset’, the customers he sees seem to enjoy the wildlife – and even feed them, which probably has rather more of an alluring effect than a tree.
The landlord intends to replace it with a ‘suitable specimen’ but, um, hang on, wouldn’t a sapling eventually have the same shady, pigeony, squirrel-magnet effect as a mature tree? And if he’s hoping to replace it with a British Oak sapling, he’s in trouble – they don’t exist (and the Oak varieties that do exist get BIIIIIIG).
It’s true that maintenance can be pricey – and the pruning that’s been done in the past has been of the somewhat crude variety, which makes it worse in the long run, but this is an important tree in a lovely garden that would be the poorer without it.
Indeed, Peter reckons it’s “one of the most significant trees in The Rectory Field Conservation area and has been loved by generations of users of the British Oak and is fully deserving of a Tree Preservation Order to protect it until a more sympathetic custodian takes over the Pub. This tree requires careful and responsible husbandry when it will continue to bring pleasure and be a valuable environmental asset. For many its loss would be a local tragedy.”
If you agree (or even if you don’t) by all means comment here, but though I will be delighted to know someone reads the blog I can’t guarantee that those comments will actually get to the person who can make a difference.
The email I gave out for Debi Rogers, the Tree Officer, is bouncing back, so my best suggestion for being able to comment is to go to the link at the top of the post and make a public comment there. The reference is 13/1006/TC British Oak, 109 Old Dover Road, SE38SU - and you don’t have long – you need to do it by Tuesday 21st. May 2013.
Everywhere I look we are losing our mature trees – mainly in streets and new developments, to be replaced by pathetic, weedy excuses for trees because they’re less bother. I still mourn the loss of the fabulous limes at what we must now call Greenwich Square. Greenwich – and the entire country is the poorer without them, and I believe that we have got to the stage where each individual needs to be fought for.