By Sian Bayley, local democracy reporter
The long-term Battersea resident and singer-songwriter said in a statement provided to Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth that the council should “leave our tree alone”.
He added: “Perhaps you could take a “leaf” from its book? – no pun intended.
“If you would like a long list of far more pressing matters that need to be addressed around our borough and where the money in killing a tree might be more fruitfully spent – no pun intended again, then I would be happy to supply it.
“Again leave the tree alone to do its own thing – live, die, flower, seed, breathe, absorb CO2, be climbed on, looked at, admired, touched, provide shelter and generally do its tree-type stuff which we all like. Mind your own bureaucratic business and let the tree mind its.”
The tree is located in York Gardens, next to the Winstanley Estate, a 1960s housing development which is undergoing a redevelopment by Wandsworth Council.
It has been occupied by various ‘tree protectors’ since February 22.
The current occupant, Bradley, has been living on his own in the tree since March 3.
However, yesterday Extinction Rebellion said a court order granted Wandsworth Council and Taylor Wimpey possession of the land that the tree grows on.
Extinction Rebellion says the situation “remains ambiguous” and that while the developers can go ahead to take steps to remove Bradley from the tree as a trespasser it doesn’t necessarily mean they can go ahead and fell the tree.
Last week Dame Judi Dench also threw her support behind the protestors, saying: “WHY cut a 100 year-old tree down when there is an alternative to go round it?? Are we not all aware now just how important trees are?? I find myself making appeals like this every day, surely we know better!”
Musician Sting and his wife Trudie Styler have also backed the campaigners.
They released a joint statement that said: “We urge the council to rethink their decision. Of course providing better housing for local people must be a priority but it is also important to do so whilst preserving the green spaces that are so valued by the local community.
“There surely must be another way to lay an electricity cable other than having to remove this 100-year-old tree that provides so much value to local children, for wildlife, our air quality, carbon storage and the beauty of nature within a developing urban space.”
One volunteer tree warden said: “Wandsworth council are determined nothing delays their master plan.
“We have internal reports that the councils own engineer argued to save the tree.
“A recent survey says 90 per cent local residents demand their tree is protected.”
Wandsworth Council has said that the site is needed to provide 136 new council homes for residents on low incomes and in housing need.
A spokesperson said: “No one wants to see mature trees lost but sometimes it’s sadly unavoidable, despite our best efforts in this case to find a suitable alternative solution.
“However as part of the regeneration scheme we are planting around 450 new trees around the estate and providing a new 2.5 hectare public park so that residents have newly created green outdoor space to enjoy.”
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