Street Trees inquiry: Residents’ outburst at meeting calls for council leader Terry Fox to resign

An angry outburst from dozens of residents disrupted a council meeting with cries for the leader of the council to resign.

Several furious protests were directed to Sheffield City Council Leader Terry Fox during last week’s strategy and resources meeting after he apologised for his role in the Street Trees inquiry.

It comes just weeks after the independent Street Trees inquiry by Sir Mark Lockwood looking into the actions of the council following the Streets Ahead initiative which aimed to fell 17,500 trees in Sheffield as part of a £2.2 billion contract between the council and contractor Amey.

One of the campaigners Annette Taberner said: “You need to go and you need to go now. You are the albatross around the neck of this city and nothing will improve until you and your puppets  who signed the report make way for other people. You have had your chance and you have blown it.

The 65-year-old added: “This sense of urgency is too late. It is too late to apologise to four of my friends who gave their life to the campaign. They’re dead. They spent the last years of their lives to stop the destruction of our trees.”

The inquiry wasn’t on the meeting’s agenda but Coun Fox attempted to give his “sincere and unreserved” apologies in the opening of the meeting to everyone on behalf of the situation. 

He said: “I can only speak for my feelings, I understand how others must feel. My anxiety levels have risen. My wellbeing has been challenged and I can only begin to understand what other people have gone through.

“One of my first commitments when I came here was to go through this process of truth and reconciliation.” 

However, his comments were immediately shut down by the public gallery who continued on with their protests shouting “The door’s there”, “You need to resign”, “Leave”, “We want to continue without you”.

One member of the public wore a fox mask with the message ‘dis-lodge them both for fox sake’, and others directed constant jeers to Coun Fox calling for him to resign.

These were all ignored by the Labour leader who didn’t respond to any comments on his resignation.

Written by Arib Dauhoo

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