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.