New head of Sheffield street trees seeks "compromise from all sides"

Sheffield's new cabinet member responsible for street trees spent his first day in post yesterday (17 May) meeting with those involved in both sides of the city's controversial Streets Ahead programme.

Councillor Lewis Dagnall - image: Sheffield City Council
Councillor Lewis Dagnall - image: Sheffield City Council

Councillor Lewis Dagnall, whose position on the cabinet was confirmed on Wednesday. His predecessor, Bryan Lodge, resigned following the success of anti-tree felling candidates in council elections in the city.

Dagnall met front-line workers for contactor Amey at its city depot, then with tree campaigners at the site of the prominent Vernon Oak which has been earmarked for felling.

Sheffield City Council says the tree is causing damage to the surrounding road and pavement, Discussions on its fate are currently ongoing between the council and community charity Trees for Cities, which has offered to part-fund any associated engineering solutions to retain the tree.

Dagnall said: "My first objective is to meet with and listen to as many people as I can, from as many stakeholder groups as possible, to gain a real and true understanding of the current situation with the tree replacement works and associated campaign.

"Only once I have an informed view will I then consider how we can move forward and start to rebuild some trust with the people in our communities. I fully accept that there needs to be compromise from all sides."

The council says around 5,500 of the city's 36,000 street trees have so far been replaced as they "were either dead, dying, diseased, dangerous, causing access issues or damaging surrounding surfaces and property".

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