Sir Bob Geldof Latest Supporter for Threatened 100-year-old Tree

Situation 'ambiguous' as court order obtained making protestors trespassers

Bradley In The Tree. Picture: Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth
Bradley In The Tree. Picture: Extinction Rebellion Wandsworth

March 12, 2021

Sir Bob Geldof has lent his support to the campaign to stop a 100-year-old black poplar tree from being felled in Battersea to make way for electric cables for a new housing development.

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.”

Tree protectors in York Gardens, Battersea. Credit: Anthony Jarman.
Tree protectors in York Gardens, Battersea. Picture: Anthony Jarman.

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 22 February.

The current occupant, Bradley, has been living on his own in the tree since 3 Marc.

However, this Thursday (11 March) 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.

Putney based actor Jason Flemyng has visited the site to give his backing to retaining the tree and 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!”

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.”

Sian Bayley - Local Democracy Reporter