BEFORE: Trees once graced either side of the main entrance to Fairfield School. Now they've gone.

BEFORE: The trees once graced either side of the main entrance to Fairfield Primary School, Penarth . Now they’ve gone.

 Nothing now softens Fairfield School's uncompromising 1960s-style architecture - except the odd clump of daffodils

AFTER: Nothing now softens Fairfield Primary School’s uncompromising 1950s-style architecture – except the odd clump of daffodils

Schoolchildren returning to Fairfield Primary School after the Easter Holidays will find something’s missing when they enter the school grounds.

Five – apparently healthy – trees, lining the entrance to the school grounds off Dryden Road, Penarth have been sawn-down during the Easter break.

Local residents have already expressed concern about the unexpected  tree-felling operation in the school grounds. The lumberjacking operation has made a substantial difference to the local landscape and to the entire feel of the Fairfield School campus.

One local resident took to Twitter to demand an explanation from the Vale Council

One local resident took to Twitter to demand an explanation from the Vale Council

The tree-felling would have been commissioned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council as the local education authority. but it appears that many people living in the area were unaware it was to be carried out.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council had given an undertaking that it would liaise with Penarth Civic Society before carrying out tree felling in Penarth – but that only applies to pavement trees, and not to trees which are growing on school premises.

AFTER : Only stumps remain where the trees once graced the main entrance into Fairfield School

Only stumps remain where the trees once graced the main drive into Fairfield School

The trees had been on the Fairfield School campus as long as the school itself. Before the building was opened (in 1953)  5 flowering cherry trees, 6 Cypresses, and 2 Copper Beech trees were planted on the drive up the main entrance . In 1958  Sitka Spruce and Beech trees were also planted in the grounds as part of celebration of what was called “The Festival of Wales”.

The new four-classroom unit to be built at Fairfield School

The new four-classroom unit to be built at Fairfield School

In July last year the Vale of Glamorgan Council gave itself permission to demolish an existing two-classroom unit at Fairfield School and install a new four-classroom “demountable” unit which is to be “disability-access friendly”.

The planning application stated that ” All trees and hedges on site will remain as existing layout”.

Fairfield Primary School has not published any minutes of the meetings of its Board of Governors since October last year –  when it deemed that its discussions about “New Build” at the school were “confidential” and could not be seen by the public .

There was a further meeting of governors in January this year – the minutes of which have not yet been published . It’s therefore not known whether the tree-felling has any connection with the “new build” and, if so, why it was necessary to remove the trees which are part of the school’s history.

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  1. anne says:

    The Town Mayor, Cllr Rosemary Cook is a governor at Fairfield school so shame on her for the absence of consultation on the latest Penarth tree massacre even as the nesting season has started How much is all this tree chopping costing us in addition to the pain caused by the resulting blight on the landscape. Perhaps Rosemary is too busy cleaning for the queen.

  2. anne says:

    On twitter I get the message – ‘ This is news to Fairfield Primary School PTA and we were not consulted prior to the felling ‘☹️ so shocked to hear that.

    • AK says:

      No consultation required with PTA – although would have been courteous to let them know

  3. Andrew sarchus says:

    All very dodgy practice by VOG as usual. If the governors deem the minutes of the meeting confidential, then they should not be receiving public money to run the school. They ARE hiding something(s).

  4. Hilda says:

    It seems clear to me what is happening. I think VOG are conditioning the children not to expect any trees or wildlife so that by the time they are adults, and Penarth is a concrete mass, nobody will be asking ‘What happened to the trees of my childhood?’

  5. Peter Church says:

    It is obvious to me what is happening….
    Trees make paper, paper is used to make post-it notes.
    A vendetta against all trees in Penarth by the Cabinet member Burnett.

  6. snoggerdog says:

    when i was but a lad the school land was known as the trolley fields,we used hide in the copse and have a crafty fag, i think they were called “domino” four for 4d bought in jack savages in the arcade.

    • Ivor Bagman says:

      Are you off your trolley
      Or have you faggot
      where you are –
      Lavernock Road ?

  7. Sick of the same old politicians says:

    Perhaps they need the room for a new car park. It would certainly be appreciated by the local residents of the Gardens who are getting irresponsible parents parking everywhere and churning up their grass verges. Some thing the council also seem to be reluctant to do anything about.

  8. Harry says:

    This is quite shocking. What a difference without the trees. How harsh and unwelcoming it looks, and I expect the wildlife miss them too. What possible reason could there be for chopping these trees down? Barbaric, in my opinion, and an absolute disgrace.

  9. Burt reynolds says:

    I wonder how long till I go to cosemeston and find the trees cut down.

  10. AK says:

    From the photographs, the trees were on a nice bit of open ground. Perhaps the school has plans for that open ground.

    Since the Board of Governors is responsible for the maintenance of the school and its grounds, then they do not necessarily need the permission of anyone to cut the trees down. School maintenance budgets and decisions are no longer the remit of the VOG nor have been for many years.

    It is a pity, as the trees would have given the children a nice shady place to sit.

  11. Andrew sarchus says:

    Then let them say so in open and publish OUR minutes.

  12. David Davis says:

    It should surprise no one that the Council has chopped down these trees , there policy on trees etc is all over the place. There was a mature Ash tree about 80 years old that grew only feet away from where I live and in the Summer with a window open and a bit of breeze you could hear the leaves rustling . like the tree was whispering and it sounded so calm and pleasing. Along come the Council , goodbye tree after 80 plus years , no pollarding considered to restrict root growth. And that wasn’t the end of it, the Council systematically went around felling around another 5 mature trees within a 30 foot radius, only one of them created ant serious concern. I used to belong to a Conservation Group that did volunteer work planting trees, hedges ,repairing dry stone walls creating footpaths etc etc at weekends . This Council have very little knowledge of conservation. or if they have they don’t use it. And it was strange to discover only a year or so after all the trees had been removed that chevron parking was put in place. I had heard some time ago that fallen leaves of Ash trees or pollen can damage the paint work of cars and claims can be made for the damage, so remove the trees first then hey presto no problem. It was also this Council that revamped the entrance to the Dingle , or made a Cresta Run , nice though it looks it could have been a more modest affair!!?? Anyway during this work someone on the Council decided to plant some Foxgloves close to the railing and a few Daffodils, but in doing this they removed a bunch of Bluebells , that existed there before (and I have photographed them in the past) what the Council didn’t realise was the fact that Bluebells are a protected plant species and it is unlawful nowadays to both pick them and even worse to dig up the bulbs, but the Council did , so in effect broke the law. I did write to the Penarth Times about this esp the Bluebells the letter was printed but no response from anyone especially not the Council, so don’t expect Conservation from a body that only has half of a clue about it.

  13. Andrew sarchus says:

    Sometimes I think the Philistines on the VOG are jealous of Penarth and just want to destroy. Bring it down to the level some of them exist on. They cant be as stupid as they act…can they !

  14. Rob says:

    Absolute disgrace. Shame on you VOG

  15. David Davis says:

    I have a novel idea but im not sure if its too crazy to even think about !!!??. Just imagine if the Council listened to the people who pay their wages as to what the towns people need done as priorities . The Council can have their flights of fancy but only after the needs of the people take priority first and even then any controversial plans or actions put to the people before the work is undertaken and money wasted. The Council could hold quarterly or bi monthly meeting to which taxpayers can attend to discuss plans or concerns , so the most wanted plans or actions are taken in order and any fancy plans placed lower down the list. Oh !well , it was just an idea. 1!?? it would probably never work, ? after all whats democracy if you cant abuse it ,use it and corrupt it?? and not be held accountable or held in check by it!!??, after all someone’s got to take power trips and indulge in flights of fancy and bugger the cost as its not their money and theres more to waste,! errrrr!! more to come where that came from..

  16. James says:

    I’m taken aback by this. Has any reason been given for these trees being chopped down? It seems unacceptable, not least the lack of communication. It appears so savage, how they once were, and how it is now. The only positive is, judging by the responses here, people seem to care, but what do we do about a council that appears to ride roughshod over our town’s environment? The trees have gone now, and doubtless the VOG will carry on as it pleases.

  17. Janet says:

    The destruction of all things Penarth never ends. You would think that the councils would want to Beautify the town to attract more visitors, but as I’ve said before, the “Ugly-fication” of Penarth continues!

  18. CelticMan says:

    Shameful – a complete disgrace. VoG have the funds to do this but not repair potholes. Hey, it’s the end of the financial year and maybe there was money left in the budget to destroy trees?

  19. Christopher David says:

    Publish The minutes Fairfield. You don’t own them. We fund you. Does it come under FOI?

  20. AK says:

    There are a lot of assumptions that it was indeed the V of G who felled the trees.

    The Board of Governors does not require the permission of anyone to fell the trees within the school grounds, nor does it need to employ the V of G as a contractor for school works.

    The Board of Governors is entirely responsible for the control and use if its devolved budget.

  21. Christopher David says:

    That may be so AK- maybe but its public money and all minutes should be open to scrutiny. A decision lime that should have a had buy in. I have had experience of this school. Not good. Evenlode proved FAR superior.

  22. SHOCKING!! :)) But people can now see the uncovered school from the road now & I’m sure there’s considerably less leaves to clear up in Autumn!!

    Sorry, I’ve no issues with this either as there’s FAR more important issues!! 🙂

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