Croydon locals fight for ‘absolutely stunning’ trees that photographers flock to every year

A tree-lined Croydon street that “lifts the soul” and attracts photographers could soon lose six striking red-leaved trees.

Residents of Mulgrave Road woke up just over a week ago to find six trees in their street marked with red crosses.

Josi Kiss, who lives nearby, knew that this meant the Prunus Nigra, also known as black cherry plum trees, were earmarked to be cut down.

The 56-year-old said: “Every spring we have photographers coming and taking pictures, when it is all full of bloom, it is absolutely stunning.

“I knew what the red cross meant so I got onto the tree officer who said, ‘don’t worry I will replace them in the autumn’. There is no consultation going on with residents.”

Mulgrave Road residents with one of the trees that could soon be cut down in Croydon

Josi, who has lived in neighbouring Eden Road for 20 years, says the trees brought her comfort when she was unwell last year.

She added: “Last year I had cancer and this road became so important to me, I couldn’t get to a park and this street lifted my soul. The idea that it is going to be bereft of these trees is so sad.”

Croydon Council says the trees, which are thought to be around 60 years old, are diseased and need to come down but have paused work after residents complained to the authority.

The group now plans on getting somebody to do an independent survey for a second opinion.

And Peter Underwood from the Croydon Green Party wants to know why all six trees have to be removed at once.

Mulgrave Road

The Prunus Nigra trees have striking red leaves and blossom in the spring

He said: “We want an independent assessment – even if they all have to come down at some point they don’t look like they are going to fall over immediately why can’t it be done over five to ten years.”

The threat of the trees being removed from the street has united residents in in opposition to the plan.

Lindsay Offer, 73, said: “The trees attracted us to come here and we have been here for 23 years.

“Our neighbours who came here about two years ago were also attracted by the trees – it means so much to our community.”

It is a similar story for Jackson Banks, 24, who moved to the road six months ago from the town centre.

0 Croydon at night

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He said: “I live in a flat and I’ve got a balcony overlooking the tops of the trees.

“I used to live on the High Street and was looking out on concrete, that was why I moved here. I am from Sheffield and it reminds me of home.”

For now the trees are safe but it is not clear how long this will be for.

In the meantime residents have put bunting and signs on the ones at risk and vow to fight for the trees.

A council spokesperson said: “The cabinet member for sustainable Croydon is organising a meeting with the community and local councillors regarding the trees on Mulgrave Road, which were found to be diseased. Further updates will be available after the meeting takes place.”

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