Tulip trees set to replace storm-wrecked willow on roundabout
Choice of tree 'not a homage to MP'
19 February, 2021 — By Tom Foot
The willow in its former glory [@FORrowley]
A WEEPING willow that left a gaping hole in a roundabout after it fell in high winds is to be replaced by a triangle of “tulip trees”.
The three trees, which have been bought by the council at a cost of around £12,000, are expected to be planted in the roundabout near South Hampstead rail station next month.
Many residents had called for another willow to replace the popular landmark that is believed to have been more than 50 years old.
But Camden’s officers had advised the year-to-year costs of maintaining a willow, and the way its roots spread underground, now make it an impractical choice.
Only pine or tulip trees were available at this late stage in the planting season and after a discussion with resident groups a decision has been made.
Labour ward councillor Leo Cassarani said the choice is “absolutely not” intended as a homage to the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency MP Tulip Siddiq.
He said: “I swear it’s nothing to do with Tulip Siddiq. That was all that was available. We’ve been told Tulip trees are underrepresented in London. It can get big, 40 metres. We’ve got three trees because we’ve committed to paying for this out of the CIL [Community Infrastructure Levy] and they could spend a bit extra.”
Cllr Leo Cassarani
Funding is coming out of a pot of money given to the Town Hall by the developer of 100 Avenue Road in Swiss Cottage as part of planning negotiations.
The popular willow fell last month in high winds provoking a strong reaction from residents who had grown up with it.
Judi Bevan, who lives nearby, said: “Sadly there is no chance of a willow which has shallow roots, although it seemed to have survived the gales of 1987. My view is they should have pruned it more rigorously. Most of us felt that better to get a tulip today than waiting a year when all manner of things could have happened and their budget could be slashed.
“If you look up tulip trees you will see it is a pleasant tree that can grow quite large.”
Council officers said in a report: “The intention is to plant the three trees in a triangle shape around the centre of the roundabout. The trees will have enough space between them: around 5m from the retaining wall of the roundabout.”