Campaigners are to hold a protest at Sheffield Town Hall tomorrow to demand resignations of senior councillors over the city’s disastrous tree felling programme.
Demonstrations are to take place from midday on Wednesday after the successful snowman protest on Friday.
This saw Sheffielders take to the streets to build a snowman in front of trees they have saved from the chop, with signs expressing their views towards the Council.
Sir Mark Lowcock’s report released earlier this month highlighted the Council’s lack of transparency with the public, such as a target to cut down 17,500 trees, which they previously denied for years.
Council leader Terry Fox said instead of “hiding away” he would “face up to this”.
In a statement issued in response to the report, Councillor Fox said the council has already acknowledged that it got many things wrong in the handling of the street trees dispute, and reiterated previous apologies for previous failings.
But many campaigners say the apology does not go far enough.
A woman who goes by the name of Bracken Moorland, 65, Nether Edge, who is a member of a new group, the “Sorry Not Sorry” campaign, believes the Council’s decisions to be “wrong and unacceptable.”
Ms Moorland told Shefnews: “People will have to resign. It is damning.”
“Fox and Lodge (Councillor Bryan Lodge) are hugely responsible for the Council’s behaviour and response, as well as others who are not in post. They must take responsibility for what they did and act accordingly.”
This mirrors the words of the leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sheffield, Shaffaq Mohammed, who called for Council leader Mr Fox and Mr Lodge, co-chair of the finance sub-committee, to resign.
Mr Lodge had offered his letter of resignation after the report was released, however it was refused by Mr Fox hopes to “earn the trust again of the public.”
When Ms Moorland spoke about her involvement in the Sheffield Tree Action Group, she emphasised the struggle this caused for their members.
“We had to raise many hundreds of thousands of pounds to help with fines and court fees. We are fed up.”
Many Sheffield citizens objected to the decision of the Council in 2012 to sign a 25-year, £2.2 billion Private Finance Initiative deal which handed management of local streets to infrastructure firm Amey.
Sir Mark said the council and contractor Amey had failed to recognise people’s love of trees and that replacing them was seen as vandalism.
Ever since, the Council have spent £300,000 for attempts to stop local demonstrations in response to their actions.
Photo (1st) Credits – Jacqui Bellamy