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PEEL HOLDINGS BUTCHERS SALFORD KIDS CHILDHOOD
 

Star date: 12th August 2013

PEEL SLAUGHTERS SILVER BIRCH TREES AS SALFORD PEOPLE POWER RESISTS

`As the trees went down, our den went down and all our childhood memories were gone' Olivia Cummings

Horrified residents launched a spontaneous demo last Friday as Peel Holdings trashed huge silver birch trees on the field behind their homes in Boothstown, with no warning and no health and safety measures in place.

The police were called, and Salford Council hurriedly slapped preservation orders on the trees but by that time most were already felled… "Birchfield was named after these birches and they've just butchered them" says resident Michelle Baglin

Full details here…


Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford
Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford
Peel Holdings Destruction at Birchfield Salford
click image to enlarge

"It's nothing less than we've come to expect from Peel" Councillor Garrido

"I was wearing my Salford City Reds top and it has Peel on there as a sponsor" recalls Olivia Cummings "I was walking about with my hand over it as much as I could; I was so embarrassed and so ashamed for wearing it…"

Olivier is just one of loads of local young people who have grown up playing around the huge silver birches in the field at the back of houses on Birchfield Drive in Boothstown. For them, both the field and the dens built near the trees are magical places that have spanned generations. Then, last Friday, it all came crashing down as Peel Holdings sensed a quick buck to be made.

"We used to play in the dens behind the trees, and, as the trees went down, our den went down and all our childhood memories were gone" adds Olivier "We can't go in there any more."

Her friend, Oliver Ward, also witnessed Peel Holdings' eco policies at first hand…

"I was stood right in front of it and there were loads of silver birches, some sixty feet high, coming down, I was shocked" he says "Our childhood just crashed. They didn't even put fences up, only when they knew we were going to tell. They lied to the police as well – it's disgusting. I video-d it on my brother's phone."

Peel Holdings might have got away with it completely, but for the pesky kids and residents who organised a spontaneous protest on the field, complete with banners.

"There was tree felling with no notification to residents or notices on the entrances to protect children, so we all headed on to the field and asked them to stop but they refused point blank" says resident Angela Hilton "We started trying to block them, the police were called and then they did stop and promised not to fell any more trees. But ten minutes later, after the police had gone, they carried on. We filmed about half a dozen trees being felled and we went out again, then more police came…"

During the events, local councillor, Robin Garrido, was trying to get an emergency tree preservation order from Salford Council but by the time it arrived, most of the damage had been done. Councillor Garrido says he was `appalled'…

"On Friday I got a phone call from one of the residents saying they were up in arms that Peel Holdings had got contractors felling trees on the site" he says "I got in touch with the Council which checked out the situation and advised that there were no preservation orders on the trees and that, because the site wasn't in a conservation area, there was nothing they could do, which was quite right.

"I came down to the site, saw what was happening, spoke to the Council again and they agreed that we could get an emergency tree preservation order" he adds "That was at 4:45pm,and at about 5:45pm an officer of the Council came down to the site with the preservation orders, which means that they can't remove any more trees without planning permission.

"We're a bit concerned because we did agree with the contractors and Peel prior to that being served that no further trees would be felled that day" he explains "Immediately after I left and the residents went back to their houses they felled a further six trees which is absolutely disgusting. I think it's appalling that a company should behave in that sort of way but to be honest it's nothing less than we've come to expect from Peel."

Residents believe that the motive for the tree slaughter is the preparation of the green site for building houses. In 2004 there was a planning application submitted for housing which was rejected on the grounds of wildlife habitat destruction amongst other things. Now the wildlife is being driven out.

Residents told the Salford Star that, in 2004, Peel Holdings owned half the field, while Salford Council owned the other half – yet when the Council was checking into the tree preservation order last week, apparently the site is wholly owned now by Peel.

"We want to know when the Council sold it" says Angela "If they sold it after 2004 when they knew Peel wanted to build on it then, obviously, that's naughty. There are a lot of houses around here and the only places children can go to play is either over the East Lancs Road, which is a hazard, or the main road which is a danger. There's always kids on here. This is the only green space they have."

Last night, around forty local residents attended a meeting at Boothstown Library and vowed to carry on the fight against Peel.

"We don't trust Peel Holdings, and we've got someone on lookout so they don't cut any more trees down when they're `tidying up'" says resident Michelle Baglin "We're all working class on here, and we look forward to taking the kids on the field. They do have a good life but Peel don't care. If we came down to their houses and ripped the trees out of their gardens I'm sure they would be kicking off like we are.

"Birchfield was named after these birches and they've just butchered them" she adds "Well, the public is not going to stay quiet any longer. The mums are going to speak up and carry on fighting for our children."


Photos by Abbey Baglin Photography

Amanda Richardson wrote
at 16:40:41 on 21 August 2013
The same is happening over here, we are the community adjacent Robin Hood Airport near Doncaster. 7 years I have tried to work with them to deliver the community facilities they are obliged to provide us, they have turned it into a fight this last year or so, the final battle is just around the corner and they better get ready!!
 
Christine Gaylor wrote
at 06:21:12 on 21 August 2013
Don't trust Peel Holdings at all. They don't give a toss about the community or public. I'm sure many communities have had problems with them, and all they care about is money, money, money. There will be a building on that land before you can say Jack Robinson. They are crooks, full of empty promises.
 
White wrote
at 14:14:07 on 13 August 2013
Peel and their partner developers have just distributed thousands of leaflets extolling the virtues of their proposed 650 house development in Worsley [Broadoak]. Those who live in that area should keep a close eye on them in case they decide to pre-empt planning permission and start ravaging that area too.
 
tony blair, say's wrote
at 22:16:54 on 12 August 2013
a sad day for the people of salford, the moral of the story is if you have land near you that peel or any other person owns and want to protect it, get on to the council now and get protection on it before it's to late, but be careful there will be a few people within salford council who will inform peel what is going on, so organise your selves to protect it, I don't blame peel for this, the blame lies at the foot of this labour council for this state vandalism which it allowed peel to do. all the trees in salford should have tree preservation orders on them and it should be up to the developers to argue there case other wise, this would stop this happening in the future, we've lost to many tree's in salford for this to carry on. maybe someone could start a petition to have all of salfords tree's protected for future generations.
 
margaret tunnacliffe wrote
at 19:51:45 on 12 August 2013
It doesn't matter about people's feelings or how much things and places mean to people any more,weather it be the Council or Peel's Holding it's always going to come down to one thing MONEY. I hope things work out for you in Boothstown.Good luck.
 
Fred the forester wrote
at 18:08:36 on 12 August 2013
Being someone who has worked in forestry for the last 30 years all I can say in either the contractors rode in on horse back and were cowboys or they were under orders to fell as many trees as they could before the anticipated oposition turned up. Felling Betula like that will lead to sporadic regrowth from the base (coppicing) meaning very dense ground growth will be achived, this then will look unsightly, become unusable to amity users and result in the land becoming scrub if not properly mangaged. Would Peel really want this????? I will leave the answer to that open to the residents of the area. Stronger forces are at work I feel may be someone somewhere in Salford has an interest in this land becoming scrub??????????
 
michelle baglin wrote
at 16:38:11 on 12 August 2013
Thank you for coming last night it was very short notice,very much appreciated.Just hope we can keep our field !! if we can get anymore info I will pass it on. thanks, the birchfield friends and family xxx
 
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