Residents frustrated as tree felling continues on Kensington estate

The battle to stop tree felling on Wornington Green estate in Kensington continues for residents as a housing developer plans to chop a further seven trees.

Residents expressed frustration at Catalyst Housing’s regeneration plans, which resulted in 100 trees felled and claimed they were not listened to.

Catalyst Housing were granted planning permission to remove certain trees in 2010, as part of the outline planning consent for the regeneration of Wornington Green.

The community started a campaign in November 2020 calling on the council and Catalyst Housing to stop the unnecessary felling of trees on Wornington Green.

Campaign leader Constantine Gras said: “We are deeply disappointed, we are physically trying to stop them as much as we can but there isn’t much hope.

“Everyone is aware that the trees add value to the estate. We are flagging up problems on the environmental front, but they aren’t listening.

“Catalyst Housing ignored the council’s request to pause the tree felling until they have spoken and consulted with the residents. It is very frustrating.

“We are hoping to stop any more felling. Yesterday we had to climb trees to see off the tree cutters and save seven of them being felled.

“We want to speak directly to Catalyst so we can explain the damage they have done.”

FELLED: Some of the trees that have already been cut down

Cllr Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Planning, Place and Environment, said: “Our residents are passionate about protecting their local environment and we are too. I have asked Catalyst Housing Ltd to pause the felling of seven trees whilst the space is being used as a temporary park.

“I expect Catalyst to consult with residents at every stage of development and planning officers are also encouraging them to do so.”

The plan, produced by Catalyst Housing in 2009, stated 167 mature trees would be cut down with only half to be replaced.

The regeneration of the Wornington Green estate is set to deliver around 1000 new homes, with 538 for social rent.

Keith Stirling, a resident who has lived on the estate since 1960, said: “Over 10 years ago when this was first discussed, our community thought it was a disgrace and still do now.

“We have fought tooth and nail to stop this all happening, but Catalyst have ignored us and gone ahead with their plans.

“People say it’s only a few trees but it’s not a few trees, it’s the environment I live in and have done for years.

“Catalyst haven’t understood that things have changed in 10 years, attitudes to the environment have changed.

“When this estate was built in the 60s, they didn’t chop the trees down, they built around them but this time they don’t care. It is an absolute disgrace.”

The campaigning group believe any regeneration should be environmentally friendly and resident opinion should be listened to.

PROTESTS: Residents gather to stand against the felling

A spokesperson for Catalyst Homes said: “We are absolutely committed to sustainability and protecting the environment and we will always look to protect local trees.

“We absolutely understand residents’ concerns and in response to the concerns we have increased the number of trees we will plant from 55 to 69.

“Wherever possible we design buildings and streets around trees but unfortunately some need to be removed for the building work to progress.”

Residents have saved two trees out of 100 so far and are hoping to save the remaining seven mature trees that are left to be felled later this week.

Click here to sign the petition and you can read about activists fighting to save a tree in Battersea here.

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