120-year-old Little Venice lime trees under threat

Residents divided over plans to cull trees in order to resurface road

LITTLE VENICE residents are at loggerheads over plans to remove six lime trees that date back to the 19th century.

An application has been submitted to remove nine trees on Clifton Gardens, including the six 120-year-old lime trees, by residents organisation Little Venice Garden Amenity Ltd, as part of plans to resurface the road.

But some residents have strongly objected to the plans and are urging Westminster Council to reject them.

Clifton Gardens resident Jane Leaver, of the Garden Amenity group, says the proposals will see the road improved with other trees planted in the lime trees’ place.

“We want to replace the trees in order to resurface the roadway because the roots are pushing up the road,” she said. “We want to do it in one go because if we were doing bit by bit it would be impossible to redo the road.

“We are not trying to stop the road from looking nice. We are looking to improve it. The trees also leak sap all over the road and the cars, and there are better trees that we think could go there.

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“We don’t just want to rip up trees. We are being advised by an arborist and trying our best to improve the situation.”

The six lime trees form part of the very few mature trees remaining on Clifton Gardens with the majority having already been replaced on the other side of the road.

Fellow Clifton Gardens resident Christina Friedrich says there are a number of reasons why the trees should remain, including reducing pollution and providing greenery for people who don’t have access to gardens.

She said: “I have been a resident in Little Venice since 1985, and to live surrounded by trees 100 to 200 years old has been a true privilege.

“It is something few city dwellers get to enjoy. Right next to my garden are two mature maple trees that are well over 100 years old.

“I have always considered it my sincerest honour and pleasure to sweep the leaves, pay for gutter cleaning when they are filled with plane fruit, pay for specialist tree surgery, repair garden pavers because of the roots and throw a bucket of soapy water on my stairs and car when the maple tree sap makes them very sticky, which is a favourite time for me because there is a delicate fresh scent from the tree blossoms.

“I consider this a cost I was well aware of when I purchased my property and it is a small price to pay compared to the long list of varied, priceless advantages and beauty a mature tree gives me every day, every year, in return.

“It would be a very sad day indeed should the applicants be successful in their wish to fell these beautiful trees, the most senior citizens of Little Venice who witnessed and survived World War One and World War Two and whose contribution to the area are profound and priceless.”

Manuja Siriwardena, deputy headteacher of Little Sweethearts Montessori School on Warwick Avenue said many parents and teachers were upset when they heard of the plans.

“Respect for one’s environment is one of the main topics in our curriculum,” she said. “We teach the children about how to plant trees and how to help them grow so cutting them down would go directly against what we teach them. It would be a real shame.”

Westminster Council is expected to make a decision on the application within the next two weeks.