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To: Newark and Sherwood District Council

Stop the Chop and Save our Library Trees - Don’t cut down protected trees for a car park extension

On 4 November we handed in our petition to NSDC's Castle House, along with an envelope of the Sycamore trees' seeds and a letter from the trees asking for their legacy to continue. We had a huge crowd chanting 'FREE THE TREES' as local children handed in our total 6,081 signatures. It was a real magical community moment.

Just twenty minutes after handing in the petition, NSDC formally voted to preserve the trees and Library Garden for good at an Extraordinary Council Meeting.

Newark residents and visitors are in huge relief from the outcome. It's been such an emotional rollercoaster for our community, but team spirit, love and passion prevailed.

Stop the Chop and Save our Library Trees - Don’t cut down protected trees for a car park extension

Four protected trees and one of Newark’s last remaining urban green spaces are about to be destroyed in order to extend an already underused car park.

This petition is asking Newark and Sherwood District Council:
- Stop the chop. Pause the imminent felling of our trees
- Undertake, and publish the findings of, the promised car parking review with stakeholders including the Newark Civic Trust and Protecting Newark's Green Spaces
- Hold the promised public consultation on the development of the site, given its high value to local people
- Undertake a full bat survey next spring in May 2022 when the weather is warm enough for the bats to fly at night.

Why is this important?

On Tuesday 12 October Councillors voted to cut down the trees and replace the grass with tarmac for a proposed extension to the London Road Car Park of net 21 extra spaces.

The trees, next to Newark’s public library, are some of the oldest in the town centre. For decades they have provided a leafy welcome to residents and visitors. The area of grass under the trees is one of the last remaining public green spaces close to the town centre.

This upsetting decision has been made despite:

-Car parking occupancy in Newark is about 60%
- A site visit on 24th October 2021 generated 108 bat calls recorded over a 40-minute time frame. The level of Bat activity strongly suggests hibernation roosts in the roof of the building and in the surrounding mature and veteran trees.
- The trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders
- A promised car parking review has not yet taken place
- A promised public consultation has not taken place
- A 2018 petition signed by 1,700 local people the Council opposed the decision
- The Council declared a climate emergency in July 2019
- Over 600+ Newark residents and visitors have been peacefully protesting via a family picnic, candlelight vigil and rally in October.

To make matters worse, derogatory comments about local campaigners and the trees were caught on microphone at the recent meeting with a council officer saying ‘are the chainsaws on the way’.

We understand the council is under pressure to balance the needs of residents and visitors. Our message is - it’s not too late to change your mind. Twentyone parking spaces won’t solve the need for future parking but these trees cannot be replaced in our lifetimes. Nor is there any new green space close to town to replace what is being lost. This decision is a lose-lose for local people.

Please sign our petition calling on Newark and Sherwood District Council to keep our urban green space protected for residents and visitors to enjoy for future generations.

How it will be delivered

We will deliver all of your signatures in person directly to Newark and Sherwood District Council's office. We will send one donated toy car to represent each person's signature.

This petition is supported by Protect Newark's Green Spaces.

Beaumond Gardens, Balderton Gate, Newark-on-Trent, Newark NG24 1UW, UK

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Updates

2021-12-20 10:25:10 +0000

Petition is successful with 5,050 signatures

2021-11-21 10:01:40 +0000

5,000 signatures reached

2021-10-21 19:26:50 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2021-10-20 03:31:36 +0100

500 signatures reached

2021-10-19 06:24:56 +0100

100 signatures reached

2021-10-18 22:29:05 +0100

50 signatures reached

2021-10-18 21:59:10 +0100

25 signatures reached

2021-10-18 21:36:03 +0100

10 signatures reached