Keith saves Day!

Keith Day

Keith Day

Independent Hedge End Town councillor and local blogger Keith Day has helped to secure the future of the laburnum tree which became the centre of a village war after a local pre-school tried to have it felled to make way for a second play area.

Tempers flared when local WI Chairperson, Jill Borrows, objected to the felling as the tree –nicknamed ‘Lilly’ – had been planted by the Women’s Institute in 1964 to mark their Golden Anniversary.

Claims and counter claims had been made by both sides with no clear resolution in sight, until Eastleigh Borough Council slapped a Tree Protection Order on Lilly, bringing the whole matter to a deadlock.

A campaign to save the tree was also fully underway. A petition and a Facebook group was started while over the weekend local Ukip activists leafleted 2000 homes in the centre of Hedge End to highlight the issue.

Concerned that the matter needed to be resolved and a settlement reached that ensured both sides could find a solution, Cllr. Keith Day tabled a motion at the unusually packed out Town Council meeting:

“The Town Council notes the recent moves to establish a Tree Preservation Order protecting trees between the Village Hall and Allotment Road and urges the Village Hall Management Committee and Pre-School to pursue a course of action which does not entail the felling of a much-appreciated and mature tree.”

Eastleigh Borough Council Leader Keith House, in his role of Town Councillor, was quick to second the motion and even proposed that the Town Council mediate between the two parties to ensure a satisfactory conclusion could be found for both sides.

Louisa Lolly, the Pre-School Supervisor, spoke on the reason why she felt the tree had to be removed, stating that the tree could poison or even kill children as a result of eating the pods that fall from the tree.

Cllr Louise Bloom, quickly interjected by pointing out that whilst there was a slight danger from the tree, most things in life come with some form of danger and that a balanced and calm solution must be found to appease both sides.

Cllr. House suggested that investigations should be made by the Town Council to see if the currently unregistered land that the tree occupies could be purchased and managed by the council to ensure its sustainably and management, which was estimated to cost in the region of some £4000, ‘a small drop in the ocean’, Mr House was keen to point out.

The vote was carried 14/0 in favour of Keith Day’s motion, with Cllr Jane Welsh and Cllr Jenny Hughes, unable to participate after declaring a interest in the motion – although this did not stop Cllr Welsh from making many comments about the tree and ‘the way this had gotten out of hand’ before a reporter had to point out that she had made a declaration of interest and should not be commenting on the motion.

Jane Welsh

Jane Welsh: Matter had 'got out of hand'

As it became clear that the council were not going to allow the tree cutting to form any part of the plans for the pre-school, some members of the public gallery became more vocal and it was clear that supporters of the pre-school had come in force to state their case for cutting down Lilly but it was clear that the battle was lost and that Lilly had won the day.

Links:

UKIP add support for Laburnum

Hedge End Tree in Poison Hysteria

Village Hall to Kill 46 year old WI member

Leave this Laburnum alone!

Twitterati:

Follow Keith Day

Follow Keith House

Follow Matthew Myatt

Photos:

©Matthew Myatt

  13 comments for “Keith saves Day!

  1. Mr Green
    June 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    People Power. Sid would be so proud.

  2. Graham Hunter
    June 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Well Done. Seems some have backtracked on their previous stance after People Power won the day.
    Nice to see democracy is still alive in Hedge End… from the residents.

  3. June 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Well done to Keith Day, our only Independent Councillor in Hedge End, for saving Lily the Laburnum. Also well done to Jill Burrows, President of the W.I., for her sterling work in this matter. If it hadn’t been for these two, the residents of Hedge End would have been presented with a fait accompli spearheaded by Cllr Jane Welsh. As most W.I. members live in Cllr Welsh’s ward, it begs the question – why wasn’t she supporting the over-whelming number of her constituents who wanted to keep the tree. She is obviously intent on pursuing her own agenda…..

  4. Peter Stewart
    June 16, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Sadly all the protests of the last year and a half have done NOTHING to change anything – because they were misdirected.

    So thank goodness for UKIP! It took just one day of leafleting by UKIP on Saturday to make the LibDems realize they had handed us a vote winner on a plate. Had they not listened to UKIP prospective councillor Michale O’Donoghue’s warning to leave the Laburnum alone, they would have faced a campaign which WOULD have caused them untold damage.

    To their credit, they acted remarkably quickly and last night performed a graceful U-Turn. But it was an unnecessary slip-up. It is not so much that they walked into a trap as they were dropped in it by people who should have known better.

    So let us be under no illusions: Had UKIP not been there to deliver the knock-out blow, Hedge End residents would still be beating their angry fists against a superior (and faceless) adversary with no desire to back down and the Hedge End Laburnum would have been cut down in its prime. Believe me, that is the case.

    While we must all thank Cllr Day for proposing the motion, we must recognize and acknowledge the DECISIVE role UKIP played in forcing the powers that REALLY be, to see sense. Without UKIP throwing its weight around to help save the Laburnum, Cllr Day’s motion would have fallen on very deaf ears.

    WELL DONE UKIP and well done everybody who has raised their voice against this silly EU “health and safety” culture which threatened to cut down a beautiful Hedge End memorial tree.

  5. Graham Hunter
    June 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Not sure why UKIP are claiming the credit here. Seems the WI & Keith day seem to have done their bit.
    Credit where credit is due.

    Smacks also of the climb down by Lib Dems over car parking on Greta Park.
    When HE residents smell a rat they vote with their feet.
    Shame this did not happen on 5th May. I do hope they remember the hidden & secret agendas.
    At least some Councillors have the balls to represent the residents as they should. And not be told what to do!

  6. June 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    This really does show the value of having an independent and very experienced Town Councillor.

    Well done Keith.

  7. June 16, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Is it not typical of some councilors they don’t get their own way so they stamp their foot and become petulant! It is my understanding this is not a new issue, Jane welsh should have dealt with this the first time around and not waited until it was a matter of some urgency, and looked very like the order was to be passed in favor of chopping this beautiful tree down , until a parishioner brought it to the attention of UKIP who not only listened but in 60 hours they had printed and delivered leaflets to 800 residents, many of whom had no idea the tree was even under threat! now can we please be adult about this? and lets give credit where it is due here had ukip not acted on the information they received the People of Hedge End would have lost this magnificent specimen for good , so credit where it is due this time please!

  8. June 17, 2011 at 8:46 am

    Ahem Polly:
    The person who bought the attention of Hedge End residents to the plight of the tree was the excellent President of the W.I. Mrs JILL BURROWS. It was her consistent campaign: putting leaflets around the village; asking residents to send letters to the Council and attending meetings that actually stayed Jane Welsh’s hand from signing the tree’s death warrant. Others put their considerable weight behind it: KEITH DAY and MATT MYATT and this combined effort achieved a good result.

    Having said that, UKIP’s support was very welcome and no doubt, helped. There will be future issues where combining forces would result in a fairer outcome for the people of Hedge End. Perhaps a representative from UKIP could start attending Council meetings regularly? It would be good to hear their views.

  9. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    June 17, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Actually I would like claim credit for saving the tree.
    I believe that it’s down to me entirely.
    I would like thank my Mum and Dad, who 54 years ago, made all this possible.
    You may show your appreciation by placing an ‘x’ next to my name at the appropriate time.

  10. Matthew Myatt
    June 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Will you all behave for goodness sake..

    A bit of power and we all loose the plot.!!

    We all played a role in this fantastic result and I would just like to send my congrats to all that have made the effort to help Jill and the WI save this important local tree.

    I do hope that everyone now understands that you do not have to accept what others do in your name. People can make a difference and can change the world if they want to.

    For me the real winner here is common sence.

    Now, onto world peace.!!

  11. Peter Stewart
    June 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    THE BOXING MATCH OF THE CENTURY!

    Graham,

    The reason UKIP is claiming credit for delivering the knock out blow is simple, because it was UKIP that delivered the knock out blow!

    This fight has dragged on for a year and half with the LibDems in one corner and the Hedge End tree lovers in the other.

    Although all the blows were coming from the Hedge End tree lovers, it was obvious they were having no effect whatsoever against a far more powerful opponent who WOULD, sooner or later, have taken one mighty swing and felled the Hedge End tree lovers completely.

    At the request of a desperate Hedge End tree lover on Thursday June 9th, UKIP stripped to the waist and stepped into the ring to take over the fight which the Hedge End tree lovers were clearly losing.

    It took just one day on June 11th of UKIP showing what power it had for the LibDem camp to realize the fight was lost and on June 15th they wisely resigned and the bell was rung to signal the end of the fight.

    I wish to REITERATE that while UKIP applauds the efforts of everyone who has put effort into this fight, it was only the start of the UK Independence Party leaflet campaign on Saturday 11th which forced the LibDems’ to make a hasty U-Turn on Wednesday 15th.

    Had the Conservatives begun a similar campaign to UKIP, no doubt THEY would have been able to take the credit for an excellent bit of local political action. BUT THEY DID NOT! It was left to UKIP as the ONLY POLITICAL PARTY TO OPPOSE THE FELLING OF THIS LABURNUM. That is a matter of record and I challenge anyone to produce evidence here on Eastleigh News to prove otherwise.

    What you may be unaware of, is that the LibDems were clearly warned, that they had handed UKIP a massive vote winner on a plate. We calculated that the LibDems would be forced to neutralize this UKIP threat and the only option left open to them was to save the Laburnum. This they did!

    So I say to Conservative voters, don’t waste your vote by voting Conservative. The Conservatives cannot win in Hedge End, especially St Johns.

    This year, UKIP took just enough votes to stop the Conservatives from winning St Johns. UKIP will NEVER give in! So voting Conservative is a wasted vote.

    Besides, why vote for a COUNTERFEIT CONSERVATIVE party – a party which is led by traitors? The real Conservative Party died 38 years ago!

    Why support a party whose leaders go around saying that we (the great British people) are not fit to govern ourselves and that we should let a bunch of European tin-gods do it for us?

    Sure the Conservatives have the “name”, but only if die hard Conservatives carry on propping it up.

    Only UKIP has the power to deliver and only UKIP stands for British interests. So forget voting Conservative and vote UKIP instead. The revolt starts right here on the pages of Eastleigh News! UKIP is the only viable alternative to the LibDems.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      Pete perhaps you should check out Keith House’s comment on hedgeendpeeps – claims he was unaware of ukippers leafletting.

      http://www.hedgeendpeople.co.uk/Leave-Laburnum/story-12756797-detail/story.html

      “Sorry to spoil a good story but I was not aware of any UKIP involvement in this until checking out this site five minutes ago! All we did last night was listen to sensible representations from both sides and agree it would be a good thing for the Town Council to try to intervene – not that we own the land or tree in question”

  12. Peter Stewart
    June 17, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Yes! I read that. However I believe the subject of the UKIP leaflets was raised at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday 15th?

    As for the original meeting of the Hedge End Town Council Finance Committee on 8th October, 2009, that must be one which Keith House now dearly regrets, for it was there that he was bounced into agreeing to fell this “highly poisonous” tree. Your readers may like to check out the minutes for this meeting

    http://www.hedgeend-tc.gov.uk/Democracy/Documents/financeminutes08102009.pdf

    From that moment on, UKIP’s success was inevitable. By agreeing to fell the Laburnum in the face of inevitable fierce public opposition, the Town Council (1) handed UKIP a massive vote winner on a plate, (2) handed UKIP its first local election success and the invaluable political vote winning credibility which comes with it, (3) started an embarrassing, slow motion U-Turn, (4) risked Keith House’s job as councillor! If I were in his shoes, I would be mighty angry with those on Hedge End Town Council who have allowed this to happen.

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