The Alexandra Gardens Trees Group is a group of around 100 local residents in Cambridge who enjoy and love the beauty of Alexandra Gardens, a small, restful and beautiful park in the West Chesterton-Arbury area of the city. We want to preserve the magnificent 100-year-old plane trees which form striking avenues and broad leaf canopy around the perimeter of the park, defining its character. The trees are threatened by insurance companies which claim that their roots are causing damage to neighbouring houses.
We formed initially in 2010 to fight a similar plan by a previous Council administration to cut trees on the other side of the park. Through research and much debate, we managed to convince the Council to preserve those trees. New claims against park trees have now emerged, resulting in the decision of the new Council administration to severely cut these trees.
The new threat to the trees on the other side of the park has meant that we have to raise a fight again. The Council is apparently determined to cut the trees this time, acquiescing to the demands of insurance companies. Consequently we are reluctantly pursuing a legal route to persuade Cambridge City Council to change its policy and fight the insurance companies through the courts. We have considerable sympathy with other interested parties in this case. We sympathise with the Council; they are suffering great financial constraints by central government. We also sympathise with the house holders whose houses are showing cracks. We do not, however, have any sympathy with insurance companies which make these opportunistic claims in order to avoid their responsibilities - i.e. paying to repair the properties they insure.
Legal action of any sort costs money, so we do not undertake this action lightly. And we do it reluctantly because we do not consider the Council to be our "enemy". We simply want the Council to fight the insurance companies and start the battle to shift the law back in favour of trees and away from the commercial interests of these giant insurance companies...and in doing so, save these magnificent, irreplaceable trees.