Sheffield star Richard Hawley blasts police protected "despicable" council tree-felling under cover of darkness
Sheffield star musician Richard Hawley has blasted "disgraceful" city council chiefs over today's early morning tree-felling controversy.
The award-winning singer songwriter blasted "snide and sneaky" local authority after three protesters were arrested as a dozen police protected contractors axing eight Endcliffe trees.
One of Sheffield's favourite sons, seen here discussing his love for the local community, he took to social media to say their covert actions from 5am had disgraced the city.
He slammed the council, saying: "Shame on you, you've disgraced our beautiful city in the most snide and sneaky manner. Utterly despicable behaviour".
His Facebook post also said: "It's one thing to have a dispute about the trees on Rustlings Road. We all have our opinions and a right to express them, but it turns into an entirely different thing to enforce corporate will in the middle of the night without warning, along with police protection and muscle".
The Mercury Prize and Brit Award nominated artist, set to play December 5 home town gig, continued: "I really feel for the folks on Rustlings Road but I worry more for the city as a whole.
"The trees are one of the city's greatest assets but it appears our great leaders are blind to this simple fact".
Cabinet Member for the Environment Coun Bryan Lodge countered: "We have made a final decision to increase the number of trees on Rustlings Road by almost 30%. We need to replace eight out of the 30 existing trees, but we will plant 17, which means the road is gaining an extra nine trees. We understand that this will be a difficult day for tree campaigners but this work is absolutely essential to ensure Sheffield has healthy street trees for future generations.
“We carried out the work very early in the morning on the advice of the police to make sure it could be done safely. This isn’t usually needed but in this case it was considered the best option for the safety of the public, protesters and the workers. I understand there are strong emotions about this but have to stand by the decision to do this vital maintenance work. We’ve got 36,000 street trees in Sheffield and this programme means that in years to come we’ll have even more.”