We have received the bad news that 8 more trees are set to be cut down on Monday morning by Catalyst Housing, to make way for their regeneration scheme of the Wornington Green Estateim North Kensington. The beautiful cherry tree, above, is likely to be one of the casualties.
Others have pointed out to us that this is National Tree Week.
Looks like Catalyst didn’t get the memo, and this in addition to the fact that the majority of the trees – mature pollution absorbing trees – on the Estate, have already been felled for their scheme.
For further background, here are some of our previous posts on Wornington Green, the trees, Catalyst and their regeneration, RBKC and the outstanding Wornington Trees community campaigners who are working hard to save their local environment:
Wornington Trees campaigners have informed us that Catalyst Housing are set to close Athlone Gardens Park early tomorrow morning in order to cut down more trees (including the tree on our title picture ). Security guards, hired by Catalyst, are currently on patrol in the park today:
The campaigners have also informed us that 2 of the trees (also including that cherry tree) could possibly be saved, but Catalyst Housing haven’t exactly been informative and helpful in their communcstions with either the campaigners or with RBKC.
At the end of last month, Wornington Green campaigners wrote to both RBKC and Catalyst Housing :”The seven trees in Phase 2B have planning permission to be removed. If these trees are not removed then a new building and road that has planning permission cannot be constructed. – we would like to see an overlay of the new road plan on a plan of existing land and trees.”
This was the response from RBKC: “We do not have a plan that shows an overlay of the approved road plan (or approved site layout) on the existing site with trees. This was not included with the planning application. We have made a comparison of the proposed site layout and the existing tree plan submitted with the application. Perhaps this additional overlay plan is something the residents can request from Catalyst instead?”
Neither the residents nor RBKC have seen any detailed planning maps of Athlone Gardens – as Catalyst Housing have failed to share these. Perhaps if they had, there could be some assessment made to see if the trees on the edge of the proposed road and park could be saved.
This is the abrupt and dismissive response that the Wornington Trees campaigners received from Jack Tyrrell-Killian, Development Manager at Catalyst Housing: “It is not possible to redesign these aspects of the plans at this stage. We have been clear that these trees would need to be removed ahead of the demolition of phase 2b, and we will keep residents and other stakeholders updated ahead of this process starting. “
But they haven’t. All Catalyst have done is to send a letter out a few days ago informing residents living around the area that the trees will be cut down and the park will be closed.
Over 4000 residents have supported the Wornington Trees campaigns and all the campaigners are trying to do is look after their local environment and see how many trees can be saved. Yet Mr Tyrrell-Killian and his colleagues obviously wrongly view these positive, productive and environmentally conscious residents as disruptive, because why else would they be so discourteous as to be keeping this information to themselves?
What is more, is that while Athlone Gardens Park was initially the construction (when the Wornington Green Estate was built) of the Kensington Housing Trust, one the well-intended bousing associations of which Catalyst partly formed out of; it is owned and run by RBKC.
So one would have thought that at least communications from Catalyst towards the Council would have been much more open and forthcoming.
Also, the last Wornington Trees petition to create an urban forest in North Kensington was successful and RBKC gave the go ahead for a pilot scheme in Golborne Ward last month, so in order to go ahead with this, it is vitally important for open communications as well as information, details and maps to be shared by all bodies who own, run and manage land and estates in the ward – yes Catalyst Housing – that includes you.
It’s time for THINKers to have a word:
Catalyst Housing have obviously forgotten their roots. The Kensington Housing Trust was once a commendable and charitable housing association which worked productively with the North Kensington community – until the later years when they came about with up with this scheme. Unfortunately their successors Catalyst take a much more corporate approach, and that approach being a callous and thoughtless one which puts profit ahead of people, communities and the environment.
And that is what this is about, it’s not “just a few trees” it is about people, communities and the environment. These positive campaigners are looking out for the wellbeing of their local environment by being willing to work with both Catalyst and the Council and trying to see if some of the trees can be saved.
Unfortunately Catalyst do not share the campaigners’ enthusiasm and have plainly decided that they are going to proceed with cutting down the trees for their regeneration no matter what .
There are still some phases of this regeneration which are yet to go ahead and some parts of this still require planning permission. Quite how Catalyst are arrogant enough to assume they can just go ahead, and not supply documents, maps and details to the Council as required as well as to the public and just expect the RBKC Planning Committee to waive it through without examining it properly, is beyond belief.
We will be sending this blog post to the RBKC Cabinet and to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and ask that Catalyst Housing and their scheme (as well as their conduct over this) is scrutinised in more detail. Otherwise, as well as potentially causing unnecessary devastation to the trees, wildlife and infrastructure of that part of North Kensington, this could set a very troubling (and possibly even dangerous) precedent for others to do the same throughout our borough.
Tomorrow, Monday the 29th of November at 8am, residents will be gathering outside Athlone Gardens Park for a peaceful protest. We will be there and we urge everyone who cares deeply about these trees, the local environment, about North Kensington and about the planning process being fair, accountable and as transparent as possible, to join us.