#78: Orchard Destroyed

Donnachadh McCarthy FRSA: “could not stay and watch the beauty created by nature/community over last 20 years destroyed in hours . . .”

THE CULMINATING ACT IN A SAGA OF INCOMPETENCE

felled orchard site

Most of our readers will be sad to learn that on the morning of October 6, 2013, Southwark hacked down the Community Orchard beside Camberwell Green.

Southwark destroyed the Orchard under the misimpression that this would end the growing confrontation and that everything could then get back to normal.

Southwark behaved clumsily. It told campaigners on Oct. 4 that they could send a deputation to the Council on Oct. 16. It has undermined its credibility. Those responsible have left themselves open to the charge of running a grudge match to remove the legacy of veteran green space campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy from the landscape, and of a political bias against Lib Dems who were showing support for the Orchard campaign.

It was risible, culpable and incompetent mismanagement to set up a library project in collision with a community green space – but this was the best that Southwark could manage during the many decades that a library has been housed in post-war emergency accommodation in Camberwell Church Street.

Southwark’s last consultation showed that two thirds of respondents did not want the Southwark’s last consultation showed that two thirds of respondents did not want the Orchard bulldozed for the new library. Southwark must not be allowed to send out the message that the bulldozer is the ultimate trump card that smashes debate and protest.

A poignant reminder. On the day that they planted the Orchard, this is what one child, Siobhan McKenzin, aged 10 said:

“I planted a blackberry bush and an apple tree with Kelly, Suraya, Shannon and Jodie. I hope it’s all grown when I grow up, with nice trees with all their pears falling off.”

orchard destruction begins

destruction of the orchard begins

(Donnachadh McCarthy).

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