Vigil held as West Hampstead trees ‘worth half a million pounds’ are cut down by developers

12:01 14 February 2014

Masked and unmasked campaigners outside Ballymore sales office in West End Lane mourn the loss of trees cut down as part of new development. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Masked and unmasked campaigners outside Ballymore sales office in West End Lane mourn the loss of trees cut down as part of new development. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

A last-ditch attempt led by Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson to save more than 30 trees from being chopped down has failed as developers refused to abandon their plans.

The mature trees near West Hampstead Overground Station - said to be up to 50-years-old and worth £500,000 - were cut down as part of the West Hampstead Square residential development.

Masked campaigners rallied together on Saturday (February 8) to hold a vigil outside Ballymore Group’s sales office in West End Lane, representing the more than 850 people who signed an online petition urging the company to leave the trees alone.

The group had reached the end of a long campaign that drew the support of West Hampstead resident and actress Emma Thompson.

Speaking on the plight of the trees, the Oscar-winner decried the “vandalism and ecosavagery” of the developers and dismissed claims that trees would be easily replaced.

“The seedlings that Ballymore are planting across the development will be pruned and heavily managed, in fact they could be likened to caged animals,” she said.

“No way can they simulate the beauty and intrinsic worth of wild, mature trees.”

Residents have argued the trees add to the “soul and character” of West Hampstead, and are also an important tool to block out noise from passing trains.

Camden Council said because the trees are not within a conservation area or covered by a tree preservation order, which would protect them from being cut down, they were identified for removal in the planning application.

Ballymore Group could not be contacted for a statement.


Latest News Stories

24 minutes ago
The tree has blocked the road south of the A1. Picture: MPSBarnet

Motorists are being advised to avoid The Bishops Avenue in Hampstead Garden Suburb due to a fallen tree.

Yesterday, 19:00
Travellers arriving at the Liddell Road industrial estate Picture by local resident, 'Jon'

Tory Party candidates claim travellers hurled rocks at them as they tried to take pictures of the site where they have set up home.

Yesterday, 17:27
Friends of Parkland walk  bramble bash campaign Pictured Alison Gardiner,Emma Walmsley,Robert Laslett,Dave Charie & Cathy Meeus

Volunteers waded through brambles to pick up litter from a beloved nature reserve.

Yesterday, 15:53
Children's March for Barnet Libraries. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners have expressed their dismay as a new wave of cuts proposed by Barnet Council could see libraries left unmanned and forced to run largely by volunteers.

Yesterday, 12:00
Vet Allan Rapley with Highgate councillors Liz Morris and Clive Carter urge Haringey to clean up its act. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Residents and campaigners have spoken out against “Third World” piles of rubbish on Highgate High Street.

Yesterday, 07:06
Greg Gordon. Credit: Nick Edwards

Hornsey Housing Trust has voted against voluntary participation in the extension of the Right to Buy scheme to housing association properties.

Sunday, October 11, 2015
A Barbie doll found during a litter pick on the Muswell Hill section of the Parkland Walk

At first glance, everything is just as it seems on the Parkland Walk nature reserve with its teeming wildlife and woodlands.

Saturday, October 10, 2015
Conker champions from left are Albert 5, Addison 7, Trey 4. Picture: Dieter Perry

Just a few short years ago, the annual Hampstead Heath annual Conker Championships broke the Guinness World Record for the biggest ever knock-out conker tournament, when 395 people turned up.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Angharad Baa Stool in Rare Breed.

Great British Life is offering a sheepskin footstool worth £199 to a lucky reader

Amazon: Everything you want to buy all in one place!

With £1,500 to spend online at Amazon, there’s really nothing you can’t buy.

You'll be stocked up on toiletries  for a while!

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder