St John’s Wood residents shocked after ‘assault’ on trees

Lime trees in a St John’s Wood road have been hacked back to the trunk after some over-enthusiastic pruning, say residents.

Westminster Council has admitted trees in St Edmund’s Terrace were “a little over thinned” earlier this month with leaves and smaller branches cut off as part of a regular cutting process.

But residents were shocked when they saw the results which were highlighted by the trees on the opposite side of the road – which is under Camden Council control – retaining their full leafy bloom.

William Harvey, who has lived in the road for 30 years, said: “It’s a botched trimming job which makes it look dreadful.

“We were away for a few days and when we came back and saw what they had done we were shocked.

“While I accept that some trimming is in order from time to time, the recent assault on what were once perfectly well-proportioned lime trees goes far beyond anything which could be deemed necessary and the results beggar belief.

“The trees to the north [Camden’s side] haven’t been touched. The south side [Westminster’s side] looks terrible because they have trimmed some of the trees severely, some just a bit and one not at all. It all looks like a bad haircut.

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“The trees are an important part of why people choose to live here as a leafy inner suburb of London.

“In the autumn there’s something nice about seeing the leaves falling down.”

The council’s senior arboricultural officer Chris Colwell admitted the results could have been more aesthetically pleasing.

He said: “Street trees within Westminster are managed on a three-yearly rolling programme of maintenance, which is designed to ensure that the stock is healthy, free from defects, and pruned so that the branches are clear of pedestrians, vehicle and street furniture such as street lamps.

“Having been to the site to inspect the work I agree that the trees have been a little over thinned and that retaining a greater amount of the smaller sized branches would have produced a more aesthetically pleasing result.

“However, lime trees are a species that tolerates such pruning better perhaps that any other commonly planted street tree and they will produce an abundance of new growth next spring.”