Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Protesters’ anger as Milton Road roundabout trees are finally felled by GCP ‘juggernaut’





Exhausted West Chesterton residents finally accepted defeat in the battle over the trees on the Milton Road/Highworth Avenue roundabout on Tuesday, eight days after West Chesterton protesters first intervened to prevent the levelling of the site.

West Chesterton resident Katherine Knight on the site after the first attempt to remove the habitat by Milestone Infrastructure. Picture: Keith Heppell
West Chesterton resident Katherine Knight on the site after the first attempt to remove the habitat by Milestone Infrastructure. Picture: Keith Heppell

It was the fourth time the contractors working for the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) had attempted to cut down the trees on the roundabout to make way for the GCP’s ‘improvement works’, its plan to remodel the roundabout to deliver its agenda for buses, pedestrians and cyclists on Milton Road.

The first visit from Milestone Infrastructure’s team took place on October 17 but before the trees could be brought down residents including Katherine Knight, Lizi Gudushauri and Mike Kimberley walked on to the roundabout and the work was soon halted.

Lizi Gudushauri protects the trees on Milton Road roundabout. Picture: Keith Heppell
Lizi Gudushauri protects the trees on Milton Road roundabout. Picture: Keith Heppell

The second visit was last Friday (October 21) and again the protesters took up positions which made it impossible for the contractors to carry out the work.

On Monday this week, Lizi filmed the workers as they chainsawed one of their favourite trees, a cotoneaster, which produces red berries.

Finally, the site was fenced off yesterday (Tuesday), ensuring the residents could not stop the work. By evening the felling was finished, and a bereft roundabout was ready to be replanted.

The residents were left saddened and infuriated, and the roundabout’s sycamore, ivy, cotoneaster, philadelphus, holly, cornus, and wild roses are now gone.

Milton Road roundabout with Highworth Avenue, GCP project, tree felling, protesters on site 21/10/22. Picture: Mike Scialom (60149103)
Milton Road roundabout with Highworth Avenue, GCP project, tree felling, protesters on site 21/10/22. Picture: Mike Scialom (60149103)

“We’re resigned but pretty saddened that no one would listen to us,” Katherine said. “It’s good that someone has put in an FOI [Freedom of Information request] because the published plans were nothing like what happened. You have to wonder how much this all cost.

“I’ve never protested before, I’m not that sort of person, and so many others of us have said the same but we were infuriated by them not listening, and patently everyone was dead against the trees being removed in the 2015/2016 consultation document.

“We’re all very sad about it, that there was no contact from GCP at all, as far as we’re aware no one from GCP came down to talk to us or listen to our arguments.

West Chesterton resident Lizi Gudushauri films trees being cut down on the Highworth Avenue/Milton Road roundabout, October 24, 2022
West Chesterton resident Lizi Gudushauri films trees being cut down on the Highworth Avenue/Milton Road roundabout, October 24, 2022

“It’s just such a shame that the first we knew about it was when the first coppices were being cut down.”

The residents were blindsided because the map of the works made available to the public – shown here – shows the trees were unaffected by the work on other parts of Milton Road.

West Chesterton resident Ben Greig added: “Putting up 6ft steel fencing to finish this is not a ‘win’ for the GCP. Pushing them to this point is a hugely positive thing. This is a huge achievement in the face of a juggernaut. I am extremely proud.”

Milton Road/Highworth Avenue roundabout after the completion of the work. Picture: Keith Heppell
Milton Road/Highworth Avenue roundabout after the completion of the work. Picture: Keith Heppell

A GCP spokesperson told the Cambridge Independent that there had been a public consultation on the work along Milton Road and added: “As part of our commitment to the environment, we will plant 194 new trees using a tree pit system which will help them to grow and increase tree canopy cover. Additionally, 4,611 square metres of rain garden and grass and wildflower verges will be put in to significantly enhance biodiversity and create a greener gateway to the city.”

The 194 trees are for the length of Milton Road.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More