News and Reports
Shepherds Cot Trust – Space to Play
TREE WORKS ON SCT SITE
Certain tree works have been undertaken in the Brookside area of the SCT site as requested by Highgate Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club (“Highgate”). We would like to explain the context of this action and why SCT has supported this request.
For the avoidance of any doubt, it should be noted that none of the trees had Tree Protection Orders (“TPOs”), legal advice was sought, and all works were legally carried out. However, we do understand that this work may benefit from explanation which is the purpose of this communication.
Why did Highgate need to remove certain trees
Highgate is in the process of finalising a transaction which will result in funding for the Brookside site. This, together with other monies to be raised, will result in the complete upgrade of the Brookside facility. This will result in 3 floodlit all weather artificial clay courts and a new clubhouse to be built in the south-east corner by the gate.
To preserve the mature oaks which line the greenway the courts will move away from them, so they are level with the Holly Park Courts.
Unfortunately, the Brookside courts dating pre-WW2 are not wide enough and do not comply with LTA minimum widths (the courts are fine – the run-off areas are not). To fit in three LTA compliant courts of the same construction it is necessary to expand them 4m to the East. Highgate is acquiring land to facilitate this. Unfortunately, there are some trees which need to be removed otherwise they would be in the tennis court footprint.
Contractors acting on Highgate’s instruction therefore last week removed one multi trunked Norwegian Maple (this was decayed), two conifers (leylandii) and one approximately 50-year-old ash at the start of March and to complete this set of works, a number of other self-seeded and immature trees and bushes were also removed at the start of April.
The clubhouse will be built in the south east corner due to the presence of a mature oak to the west. Please be assured that this decision was not taken lightly. Legal advice was taken and the removal of these trees (not being subject to TPO’s) is permissible by law.
Future Greening of the Fields
SCT is committed to more greening of the site and has overall plan which if funds are available it wishes to pursue. By working together with our community, we intend to improve the Fields in many ways such as the greening at Park Road entrance and the greening of our Montenotte Road entrance. The trees recently removed will be replaced by a row of 4 or 5 trees in the gap on the Shepherds Cot side of the Greenway slightly away from Brookside. We will be consulting with other key stakeholders before finalising any replanting.
Given the nature of these works SCT feels it is right to explain them to all users of the site and the local community.
The Trust is committed to maintaining and retaining its trees, but not if they are diseased, dangerous, or situated in such a location as to impede or cause damage to playing areas or structures.
As explained above, The Trust and clubs are committed to providing sporting opportunities for all ages, all members our community, all abilities and our recent action has been to enable progress in these areas, while at the same time being committed to a future programme of greening that will enhance the site for generations to come.
Given that the proposed development of the courts on the Brookside site will nearly double available court time – with the individual physical and mental health, education, and community benefits this additional sport provides – it is felt by Trustees that these tree works, with appropriate mitigation, are appropriate in the circumstances.
Chairman, Shepherds Cot Trust