Our elected councillors who are also the trustees of the Chambers Institute have committed an act of environmental vandalism on this hallowed institution. When they were first appointed this was what was expected of them; “Local people want the Chambers Institution to maintain and enhance its role as the cultural heart of the community and for it to be attractive, welcoming, well-cared for, accessible and affordable. The key uses of the building were identified as: library, museum, art gallery and meeting spaces, and a quiet contemplative courtyard setting for the War Memorial.” Since the Peeblesshire news highlighted the loss of two mature Rowan trees, I did write to three of the trustees who come under Tweeddale West asking for more details about the decision and processes that were followed before this decision was taken. Only one replied saying that the Chair would respond to me directly, and I am still waiting! Elected politicians and bureaucrats seem to be exempt from legal procedures. Below is evidence of this farcical misadventure.
The minutes of the Peebles Community Council meeting of 13th June 2019 clearly state the following; The Chambers Institute Trust have had a request from the British Legion to remove trees that ‘flank’ the memorial and “re plant” them. Cllr Chapman was seeking some consultation from the Community Council about where we would like them to go. The trees are impacting the memorial, hence why this work will be carried out. Peebles Community Council put up a post on 4thAugust 2019 stating that the Trustees were seeking to inform through the Community Council, and get any feedback that people may have on their plan to remove the trees. At the 12th September meeting of the community council Cllr Chapman mentioned that this was a community notice rather than an opportunity to comment. The trees will be removed and replaced with smaller trees!
We cannot trust our elected representatives anymore and nothing is safe in their hands any longer. We the people now have to take action against the trustees for this wanton act of vandalism. Anyone who has read the statement issued by the trustees in last week’s Peeblesshire News must be scratching their heads and wondering if they are being governed under Trump laws! Its lies, lies and more lies. There was No Consultation! Majority comments and feedback on the Facebook post were from people against cutting these trees. The trees were felled during the week schools were on a break and they came early in the morning so as not to arouse suspicion. I am surprised that all the trustees put their names to this statement. I have taken photos of the site where the trees once stood proud and tall and enhancing the memorial not degrading it as stated. This was a cost cutting exercise and when the global agenda is to grow more trees it beggars belief that all the trustees have supported this venture. As one of your readers mentioned in a letter the Rowan is a sacred tree, and they should watch out what is going to be in store for them very soon.
This column was published in the Peeblesshire News on 15th November 2019.