A NEW YEAR’S GIFT FOR FAWNBRAKE AVENUE?

Dear Neighbours

You should by now have received a leaflet from two of our fellow Fawnbrake residents, announcing a very welcome initiative to add to the endangered tree stock of Fawnbrake Avenue.

Even in winter, our trees add dimension and texture to our streetscape with the age-old pattern of their boughs, and in spring, summer and autumn their buds and colour-shifting leaves bring the street alive.  It would be a shame, for us and future generations, if we let them disappear.

Fawnbrake Trees Winter_B&W
Even in winter, trees enhance our street view

For the record, and in case the dog ate it or the builders threw it away, here’s what the leaflet says:

“Many of us in Fawnbrake Avenue enjoy its tree-lined character but it’s suffered badly in recent years as older trees have been removed and have not replaced. Others were replaced with specimens inappropriate for the location. A number of us have decided to do something about it and hope you will want to too. A survey by the Herne Hill Society established that some 24 trees are missing in Fawnbrake Avenue. That includes empty pits, ‘capped’ pits and three unsuitable Tamarix ‘shrubs’ (near numbers 90–100).

Because of cuts, Lambeth have for the last three years had a policy of not replacing trees. However, we have recently talked to Dave Paul, the officer responsible for trees in Lambeth, and currently some trees are available for street planting. Lambeth can provide three trees for our street. What’s more, Mr Paul tells us that if residents themselves can raise funds for more trees, Lambeth will match the same number. So if we can fund, say, ten trees Lambeth will provide ten more. On our recent inspection of the street Mr Paul marked with a green ‘T’ places where a tree could be suitably planted. This is not to say a tree will definitely be planted there. They’re simply suggestions. If someone is strongly against a tree being planted near their house, Lambeth will take account of their views.

Planting new trees is not cheap. The cost is £450 per tree, but this includes insurance and a three-year maintenance programme. This means that if the tree fails within three years it will be replaced free of charge.

The cost of ten trees would be £4500. Split between an estimated 140 or so households that’s around £30 each; not a vast amount considering the value ‘added’ to Fawnbrake Avenue as a whole – and, as any estate agent will tell you, a tree-lined street is good for the value of your home! There has been a similar successful scheme in Rollscourt and Cosbycote Avenues, where donations ranged from £20 to £450. Now we need to get an idea of how much Fawnbrake residents would be willing to contribute. We are not asking for money to be paid now, but we’d like an indication of what you feel you could pledge. And if you feel there are other ways in which you could help with this project do let us know.

The Herne Hill Society, a registered charity, supports this project and is willing to make its bank account available to receive donations. These would be ring fenced for the project. A cheque would then be paid directly to Lambeth, once they are in a position to commission the work. It would be great if we could make use of the current planting season. This means, ideally, planting by the end of March. There’s no time to be lost, so please respond by 15 January 2016.

Please email laurence@marsh62.co.uk stating your name and house number, or contact us at our addresses at 62 and 80 Fawnbrake Avenue and saying how much you would be prepared to pledge. We’ll add up the pledges, establish how many trees that would provide and start liaising with Lambeth. We look forward to getting back in touch as soon as possible with more information on how we can restore Fawnbrake Avenue to its former tree-lined glory.”

David Williams – 80 Fawnbrake Avenue

Laurence Marsh – 62 Fawnbrake Avenue

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