The Norbiton 100

Disagree? Then challenge me

Norbiton has lost 100 of its precious trees

In only a couple of years it seems to me

Tragically revealed in photography

A more accurate record than your bureaucracy

Whose FOI’s return ‘Just one lost tree’.


Just look at the sawdust in the cemetery

Formerly a regiment of Lombardy’s.

A game of numbers played by authorities.

Using Orwellian counting systems and legalese.

To enable multiple blocks to put warehousees


Cambridge road’s urban forest numbers 183

But unacknowledged in gardens - another 53.

Apple, plum, pear, olives and massive cherries.

Lime, oak, willow, in total, 28 species.


In Bonner Hill road rumble HGV’s,

Removing cubic metres of soil from old factories.

Earth and earthworms gone so no hope of new trees.

On a total development footprint with accountants to please.


Planning conditions; modern routes to acquiring new trees.

Where councils can relinquish responsibility

But this only works where there’s an official ‘on duty’.

To make sure developers make planting a priority.

No use if personnel levels hover at insufficiency.


and the planners have said ‘we don’t want any trees’

at the junction of Hampden road, as drivers can’t see.

So, we are stuck with a green wall (lost 24 trees)

wasting litres of water when irrigated ceaselessly.


‘Eeugh’! you declare, trees lost were only Lleylandie

But in these concrete times it is better than no tree.

They had their roots in the soil and earthworms were free

to be eaten by blackbirds that sang joyfully

and heard in the towers in an ‘Area of Deficiency’,

of access to nature, a forgotten Mayoral policy.


Tree Protection Orders can protect trees

But only if the planners fail to agree.

To felling great veterans for a new conservatory

Or the black Tupelo-quite a rare tree-

has some aftercare, when replacing casualties.


While developers plant inconsequential twiggery

In troughs where they survive for a year or three

Roots become entangled with no remedy

Cut down before they enter the tree hierarchy.

All soon gone from living memory.


Look around this district and you will see

A Cambridge road block adopting this strategy.

and hornbeams at the junction, cut off at their knees

flagrations I hope you will take seriously.



Planning conditions secured two lime trees

on the corner of Gladstone, but where are they please?

Gone in a blink by teams that cannot agree

the multiple assault on the air we breathe.


Officials turn over so quick-er-ly,

Every couple of years they write a new policy,

without implementing the last, to any degree.

Each paragraph slightly more contradictory,

Absolutely no use in a climate emergency

when we need to give precedence to the plight of the tree.


Why did you ignore the nation’s priority,

To protect a native black poplar – a rarity

We shared our pride to save this tree

Felled at Dickerage, dismissed as a hybrid,

exists as an Excel profile, but alas no tree.


With planting seasons gone we must treasure old trees.

‘Be the stewards we need’, instruct your committees.

Call out double-speaking and incompetency

Will this Winter see another felling spree

so that Norbiton can be a developers Opportunity?

Or will the slow-worm turn and protect biodiversity.


Native black poplar Clone 28 Dickerage Lane  2019


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