On Sunday 26th September 2021 Orient Way Park Friends launched a Citizens Tree Preservation Order Act with the simple aim that no healthy tree should be felled. "If our elected leaders won’t protect our trees," they announced, "then we the people will."
This report begins with an interview of Emily Hughes, one of the campaign organisers, which is followed by footage taken at the event itself of speeches from the organisers and more interviews, including with two of the young children who attended with their parents. Both old and young express their passionate commitment to saving from destruction the trees that Waltham Forest Council want to cut down to build more high rise blocks on this flood-prone piece of land. It was for purposes of flood defense that the trees were originally planted and the so-called "Pocket Park" establshed.
The case for retaining the trees and the park itself is fully argued by the participants at this event, and the hypocrisy displayed by the council in the wake of its declaration of a climate emergency is made completely clear.
We end this item with a somewhat surreal walk down the Avenue of Limes in the town square filmed by Adele on Sunday 19th September 2021 stopping intermittently to read the clever and cryptic banners that had been suspended from the trees.
There are many ways in which you can help this campaign. If you are a Waltham Forest resident (and even if you aren't)write to the Waltham forest Council at email@example.com including your full name and home address and quoting Ref. 212685. If you need any help with what to write contact a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com
Be sure to sign the Petition at: Orient Way Petition
For more information about flooding visit: https://tinyurl.com/allaboutfloods
For more information about the Orient Way Park campaign or to get in contact, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Emily on 07988644724 or Kate on 07792851834
We have been asked to add this to clarify the role played by local artists in saving the trees in the town square:
I would like to put it on record that the campaign to save the lime trees in the Town Square was driven and sustained by a group of 17 + local artists. We held 4 exhibitions altogether, two in the Winns Gallery in October 2018 and June 2019, in the Windows Gallery, Orford Road in December 2018 and in the Rose and Crown in November 2019, which opened the day after we heard that the trees, all but three had been saved. Our exhibitions were both arresting and informative, highlighting the issues and thus mobilising residents to lobby and put pressure on their councillors and keep abreast of developments. Well over 2000 local residents visited the exhibitions and 6,000+ people signed our paper petition and many more online. We dressed the trees to draw attention to the threatened loss, leafleted and spoke to members of the public. We leafleted widely to promote the last public consultation at which the subject of the lime trees was the most frequently raised issue and I believe that it was our informed reasoning with a sympathetic representative from C & R which contributed to a change in the development plans. I personally addressed a full meeting of the Council not haranguing but attempting to be persuasive and I believe this may also have had a positive effect.
Whilst Save Our Square and members of the local XR group supported us in our campaign and some of the artists, including myself, are on their mailing lists, saving the trees of Lime Tree Walk was driven and sustained by artists and in their turn concerned local residents. I would appreciate your putting the record straight.
I would just like to add that Save Our Square's campaign actually started a little earlier than that of the local artists:
Waltham Forest Guardian Article, 13th February 2018
This is a little event we organised between child artists and Save Our Square at about the same time:
Children's Poster Designs for Save Our Square