September 17 2014 Latest news:
Emma Youle, News editor
Monday, February 3, 2014
The campaign to save three magnificent copper beech trees next to Kenwood House has been victorious - as English Heritage announced today it has reversed plans to chop them down.
The decision to save the copper beeches comes after a growing public outcry about the proposal to fell the 60-year-old trees as part of English Heritage’s plans to restore “one of London’s great views”.
English Heritage had wanted to fell 26 trees in all, including the three large copper beeches beneath the 18th century Kenwood dairy cottage, to the west of the main house.
It said the landscaping project would restore a stunning “lost vista” that was present some 150 years ago.
But opponents argued the view was not special enough to sacrifice the copper beeches and today English Heritage confirmed it had listened to the public and reversed the plans.
“We wanted to hear local people’s opinions on our proposal to restore these historic views,” said Paul Jackson, head gardener at Kenwood for more than 10 years.
“And it became very clear that although there was support for the project, there was considerable anxiety about removing the copper beeches.
“We’ve listened and we’ve responded to those concerns.”
English Heritage worked closely with the Kenwood Landscape Forum and other community groups before finalising the proposals.
The project will still see the re-establishment of the historic sightline between the dairy and the house and between the dairy and the ponds, creating a stronger link for visitors between the two buildings and the wider Kenwood estate.
The holly hedge will also be restored opening up a larger area of grassland for people to enjoy.
Following final surveys, the self-seeded scrub – mostly birch, alder and oak – on the margin of the West Meadow and 23 other trees will be removed.
English Heritage says historic photographs and maps show that the West Meadow was clear of trees until the 1950s.
Today, the Kenwood estate is home to approximately 5,600 trees and over the past five years Kenwood gardeners and volunteers have planted roughly 1,700 trees and are planting 50 more this winter.