The Sheffield Street Tree Partnership would like to thank Sir Mark Lowcock for his diligence in producing such a comprehensive report. There can be no doubt that the report is damning for the Council and reflects upon a very dark time in the history of the city. We are glad that the truth has now been told and that the report forms part of the public record. It’s indisputable that the Council’s actions had significant implications, both for individuals and for the wider city. Substantial harms have been identified within the report and some of those individuals harmed during the dispute are personally involved with the work of the Sheffield Street Tree Partnership. There are wounds that will take time to heal and trust that needs to be rebuilt.
The Council has apologised for its failings, which the Partnership welcomes. In the time since the establishment of the Sheffield Street Tree Partnership we have seen promising signs of the Council’s commitment to partnership working. However, partnership working is not easy, it’s a journey and it takes continued effort and commitment to get it right. In this endeavour the Council has accepted that it has more learning to do.
The Sheffield Street Tree Partnership is incredibly proud of all that it has achieved so far; and it is testament to the hard work and commitment of all its partners that the landscape of the city is now different to the one described in the report in the years leading up to 2018. The Sheffield Street Tree Strategy strikes the tone and opens the door to positive action, and our charter establishes the manner in which the Partnership should work together with mutual respect and in the building of consensus.
The Partnership will be reflecting fully in the coming weeks and months on the important role that it will continue to play in supporting Sheffield in relation to engagement and consultation around street trees.
We have so much more that we want to achieve to deliver the strategy, and we look forward to continuing on this journey, in the true spirit of partnership, so that we can fulfil the Partnership’s ambitions to promote and enhance a network of street trees that Sheffield can be proud of. We look to all partners to wholly engage in our collective effort as we remain fully committed towards developing a more resilient, biodiverse, equitable and valued resource in our street trees for the city’s future.
For and on behalf of the Sheffield Street Tree Partnership