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To: Southwark Council

Save the Cox's Walk Footbridge Oak Trees

Save the Cox's Walk Footbridge Oak Trees

Place Tree Preservation Orders on the two oaks they plan to cut down.

Why is this important?

These two, hundred-year old oak trees stand on each side of the west end of Cox's Walk Footbridge, Sydenham Hill Woods. They are like sentinels, welcoming and guarding the bridge, and their magnificent canopy dapples the bridge in green shade. But these trees are due to be felled this autumn, just to make life easy for Southwark Council when they carry out repairs to the footbridge. That would be a loss of hundreds of years of life for these beautiful, healthy oaks and the life they support.
• Southwark Council is trying to blame these trees for damage to the bridge but the engineer’s assessment states it is lateral pressure from the soil on both sides of the bridge that is the problem.
• There has been some damage to the brickwork by roots, but ivy roots not oak roots.
• The abutment walls that need repair were rebuilt in the 1980s (exact date unknown) without needing to remove the trees, so we know it can be done.
• No assessment appears to have been done of the impact on the stability of the slope and the water table removal of these trees will have.
• Oak trees have a rich biodiversity, supporting hundreds of insect species, birds, fungi, mosses and lichens.

Sydenham Hill Wood, London SE21

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • Older oaks are great for biodiversity, having more associated species of wildlife than any other native trees in England. These organisms range from bacteria to fungi, lichens (fungi in symbiosis with algae), free algae, mosses, vascular plants, invertebrate animals, birds and mammals. Every veteran oak is worth fighting for! Ancient oaks are particularly important as habitats for many of these organisms. Not only do they p
  • These trees are part of our natural green heritage which came way before our built heritage. They have seniority leave them to flourish
  • It is a moment's work to cut down trees that are 200 years old. As such, it should only be considered where there is an extremely strong case for doing so. Seemingly, that threshold has not been met.


2019-10-05 15:47:20 +0100

Short Notice: We have been offered a meeting with Council Officers at the bridge on Tuesday 8th October 2019 at 10 am. It's the nearest thing to an open public consultation so far. Please come along if you can. If you have questions you'd like asked, email them to
Hope to see some of you then!

2019-09-26 10:23:09 +0100

Things have now reached a critical stage and we need your help again. Thanks to your fantastic support so far there is a temporary delay in felling the trees. We fear that this process is near its end, and that the trees are again in imminent danger of being cut down. The Council has still not provided any evidence to support its abandonment of the low impact, best value rebuild recommended by its structural assessment.
Please email Rebecca Lury, Southwark Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment to request two things:
· that the Council commissions a second structural assessment and recommendations on the Cox’s Walk Footbridge from a specialist conservation accredited structural engineer.
· That the Council holds an open meeting to consult the public on its plans for the bridge and the oak trees as soon as possible.
Many thanks for your continued support.

2019-08-28 18:26:46 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2019-08-24 13:07:19 +0100

The Council has turned down our application for the Tree Preservation Orders, insisting that it still needs to take them down for access. But we have now seen that the repairs they are proposing are far more drastic than those recommended in the engineer's report. Instead of rebuilding the walls with some reinforcement, onto the existing foundations, as recommended, they are planning to dig out the whole foundations start again! Why would they want to add so much expense and disruption to the repair work? It is also highly likely that the trees could be spared if they only had the original repairs to carry out.

The Dulwich Diverter is running a story on the Campaign in its next edition. It would be great if any of you could come to the bridge tomorrow, Sunday 24th August at 11 am for a group photo for them.

2019-08-20 21:52:58 +0100

Thank you all for your support so far, it's been fantastic and shows how much people appreciate these great trees and all they do for us.
Local Councillor Andy Simmons has talked to Council officers about saving the trees, but so far they are adamant that the trees have to go as they obstruct the repair work. Many issues remain unanswered.
We have now gone to the next stage and written to the Southwark Director of Planning with details of the issues we are raising, and asking for Tree Preservation Orders whilst these serious concerns are investigated. We included a paper petition of over 200 signatures collected on the footbridge and a link to this online petition. The letter was copied Southwark Council Chief Executive, Eleanor Kelly, Helen Hayes MP, councillors Andy Simmons and Catherine Rose, London Wildlife Trust, the Dulwich Society, the Dulwich Estate and the Sydenham Hill Ridge Neighbourhood Forum, so I hope we will begin to see a more public debate soon.

2019-08-13 11:15:26 +0100

500 signatures reached

2019-08-07 16:17:32 +0100

100 signatures reached

2019-08-06 22:07:51 +0100

50 signatures reached

2019-08-06 17:08:10 +0100

25 signatures reached

2019-08-06 12:12:22 +0100

10 signatures reached