Opinion - Philip Carr-Gomm, author, druid and nature-lover

Normally a calm person, I’ve recently got very steamed up over the way the beautiful mature trees in this town are starting to disappear, one by one. The first I noticed was a huge one by the bench at the top of Rotten Row. Chop, and it was gone. It’s been going on for years. The trees that grow along the top of the Southover School playing field were only saved by protest over 70 years ago. The trees in Albion Street have been under threat ever since that awful office block was built at one end. A few years back I heard chain saws going and they were trying to cut down every single tree in Winterbourne Hollow. We managed to stop them by organising an instant protest. More recently another one went by the Baron’s Down nursing home. In the last few months they’ve cut down virtually every mature tree outside Lewes prison, and pollarded others so viciously they may not survive. I requested the correspondence between the prison and the council about this under the Freedom of Information Act. And guess what? This has all been done to stop the nuisance of bird droppings on staff cars! Other reasons have been given since then (such as protecting the car park wall) but tragically it seems this is the real motivation. Those trees were probably planted in around 1853 when the prison was built. 150 years of Lewes history has been wiped out in a few weeks to keep a few Ford Sierras clean and shiny. And you and I, as taxpayers, have paid for this.

Sue pollarders? Philip Carr-Gomm would like to