City of London consults on replacing historic avenue in outer London park

The City of London Corporation has launched a public consultation to gather views on what species of tree will replace the existing Jubilee Avenue, also known as Churchill Avenue, on Woodford Green.

Image: City of London Corporation
Image: City of London Corporation

The site, in the northeast London borough of Redbridge, was acquired by the Corporation in 1882 and is now managed by its Epping Forest staff.

On the site of a previous avenue commemorating the 50th jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887, the current 430-metre avenue comprises 89 hybrid black poplar and London plane trees - the original intent being that the fast-growing poplars would serve as "nurse trees" that would give way over time to the planes.

Having been pollarded in the past, several of the poplars are showing structural defects, while the planes "have not established well, are of poor form and will be increasingly susceptible to Massaria disease in the future", a Corporation report says - adding the disease is already present in the wider Epping Forest.

Earlier this year one of the trees was blown over, and was found to be infested with honey fungus, which is thought to be also present in neighbouring trees.

The Corporation is now seeking residents' views on whether to replant the avenue with English oak, hornbeam or common lime - a selection which it says reflects the composition of the wider Epping Forest.

A consultation event has already been held by the statue of Winston Churchill at the southern end of the avenue, while an online survey will run until 30 June.

Chairman of the Corporation’s Epping Forest and Commons Committee Philip Woodhouse said: "We now have the opportunity to make the avenue safer, ensuring that the feature can be enjoyed by future generations to come.

"I encourage as many of you as possible to share your views and help to shape the future of this historic planting."

Staged over ten years, the avenue replanting is expected to cost around £20,000. A public sponsorship scheme to fund the replanting has been proposed.

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