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Dear Heritage Lottery Fund / Councillors / MP
I am a local resident of ______ / I have formerly lived in _____ and still visit Alexandra park / I am a regular park user of Alexandra Park.
I am writing to register my severe upset at the level of tree felling, shrub clearance & wildlife habitat destruction taking place in the park and ask you to put an IMMEDIATE STOP on any further works (other than to the buildings that require renovation).
At 60 acres the park is large enough to accommodate the needs of all its users, both human and non-human. Building renovation and improved sport & leisure provision is welcome and needed but it doesn’t require the destruction of 400 trees and 3 acres of wildlife habitat. The felling and shrub clearance that has taken place so far, has been a senseless eradication of a vital wildlife corridor & habitat – it has no valid reason. Largely, the trees are being felled for aesthetic choices such as perfect ovals, wide paths etc, none of which impact on the provision of the planned amenities and facilities. The Heritage Lottery Fund has said it does not support unnecessary tree felling – so why is the council continuing to do it?
The Council has recently come up with the terrible excuse that it is for public safety! The Councils own survey with the public in Summer 2012 showed that 96% of people said they felt safe or very safe in the park. Furthermore, GMP have said that Alexandra Park is one of the safest parks in the city. Alexandra park was a uniquely natural, peaceful and leafy environment supporting many rare bird species and England’s favourite animal- the hedgehog. The park’s greenery also played a vital role in absorbing heavy particulate pollution and carbon emissions from the city centre’s traffic. It reduced noise from traffic for park users and residents living close to the park, as well as acting as a wind break.
The woodland was the only park of the park with an element of wild nature; arts activities and nature events were held there, which were all very well attended. Wild nature is extremely important for people to have access to in an otherwise built up urban environment. Recent scientific studies demonstrate that leafy environments promote peaceful behaviour, good health, and good community relationships. The Heritage Lottery Funds own statement says ‘We do not encourage unnecessary tree felling and want to continue to ensure that the funding from HLF and BIG enables the park to be developed so that it fully reflects the needs of users and the local community‘. In what way are these works in this part of the park fully reflecting the needs of the 3700+ who have signed the petition who appreciate wild nature? This is a significant portion of the local community whose voices are being consistently ignored. Do we not get a say in ‘The People’s Park’?.
Any so called ”consultation” on the clearance and felling of a treasured landscape has been incredibly poor; the petition and protests are evidence of a poor consultation process. This needs to be addressed immediately. Additionally, the decimation of park wildlife, failure to demarcate and protect retained trees properly, failure to fence off the patches of invasive Japanese Knotweed with resulting contamination of the whole park all breach UK Environmental legislation.
I ask you to help with the following:
- To put an IMMEDIATE STOP on any further works (other than to the buildings that require renovation).
- Help us to gain a full and formal consultation – this time with transparency of the true scale of the felling plans and shrub clearance
- To ensure that the majority of public’s consent is given to any further work taking place
- If, in the event that the numbers of protestors outweighs the number of supporters of this particular aspect of the plan, to engage with protestors in meaningful dialogue with a view to agreeing a compromise solution.
- Acknowledge that the plan falls short of delivery to the policies which MCC has developed in relation to biodiversity and tree management and make modifications as best as possible to deliver same.
I eagerly await your response and ask you to act now to prevent any further damage being done to the park and importantly, to the morale and goodwill of local people.