Thursday 7 September 2023

One day one photo - 7: Bromley Chainsaw Tree Massacre

Entrance gate to the site of the Bromley Tree Massacre, in Cator Park
On my morning run, today around the parks and green spaces around Penge and Beckenham I took a mini detour around the gated section of Cator Park, the site of the so-called Bromley Tree Massacre. On the morning of 10th June this year part of this lovely woodland area was attacked by none other than the leaseholder, Prince Choudhary. Apparently, he thought it was a good idea to fell around 130 trees within the park, many of them being mature oak trees, despite them being the subject of a tree preservation order. Angry and upset residents tried to challenge the workers that Saturday morning as the work was being done, but bouncers prevented them from gaining access to the park as this outrageous act continued. 

Choudhary was arrested for criminal damage, and was later released, leaving it for Bromley Council to initiate proceedings against him. 

Anyone who violates a tree preservation order could be fined around £20,000 in a magistrates court. In a crown court they could receive a much heavier penalty.  

Choudhary, a part-time football coach, has defended himself by claiming that he wasn't aware that a tree preservation order was in place, and that he felled the trees in order to create space to build a community sports facility within the park. He maintains that he is a law abiding citizen who has always been interested in helping disadvantaged youngsters in South London, and this activity was part of a plan to provide a space for them to play football.

I must say that running around the park and seeing all these dead tree stumps with dead leaves and branches around them in the central area of the park was a very sorry sight, and I find it hard to understand how someone in their right mind would think that it's okay to cut down healthy woodland. There's nothing more pleasant than taking a walk through the woods, and it is great to have this on one's doorstep. It beats me that people would have so little regard for nature. 

Therein lies the problem - people who feel they are enhancing the community by promoting open green spaces to help the local habitat and provide pleasant areas for walking, jogging or having picnics etc pitched against those who feel they are enhancing the community by promoting sports activities for local young people. The landowners, Hopeson Group Limited, have said they are willing to cooperate in order to reach a resolution.

The council have ordered Choudhary to replant trees to replace the 131 he destroyed, though sadly it'll take a generation before the woodland is restored to its previous state.  

No comments: