Picnic celebrates campaigners’ victory against tree cutters

From left, Kimberly Barrett, 28, her son Jacob, five, Julie Brown, 61, Victoria Campbell, 35, with her daughter Madeleine, three,, Alistair Campbell, 40, with his son Sebastian, five, Martin Lock, 54, with his two dogs Dexter and Toby 

Picture: Malcolm Wells (160903-4836)
From left, Kimberly Barrett, 28, her son Jacob, five, Julie Brown, 61, Victoria Campbell, 35, with her daughter Madeleine, three,, Alistair Campbell, 40, with his son Sebastian, five, Martin Lock, 54, with his two dogs Dexter and Toby Picture: Malcolm Wells (160903-4836)
From left, Paul Stanley, Jo Crisp, George Heasman, Mercedes Bevan, Luke Galea and Bethany Bevan from Highbury College

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FRIENDS, family and neighbours gathered for a picnic to celebrate a victory.

The happy lunchers were all members of the Keep Milton Green! campaign group.

They met on Saturday for sandwiches, cakes and games in the grounds of St James Hospital, in Locksway Road, Milton.

They spread out blankets and enjoyed their food under the branches of the 40 trees they saved from the axe.

Residents had been in a long battle with Solent NHS Trust over plans to cut down the trees.

The trees were protected by a Tree Preservation Order, so the trust had to put an application into Portsmouth City Council.

However, this application was withdrawn after more than 130 objections were raised.

Activist Kimberly Barrett organised the picnic as a way of celebrating.

The 28-year-old mum-of-two said: ‘We were really pleased to see the large number of people who objected to the application.

‘Obviously this worked, as not only did Solent NHS Trust take note, but so did our local MP and the several organisations that bought the land. People power definitely won and we really wanted to get together and celebrate as a community.’

Also at the picnic was the Campbell family, who live in The Haven.

Mum Victoria, 35, said: ‘I have lived in this area all my life and this green space is an important resource.

‘We should be thinking about the long-term future.

‘It is an ongoing campaign, so we will have to wait and see what happens next.’

Julie Brown, from Locksway Road, said she would like to see more action being taken on the traffic.

She said: ‘I have lived in Locksway Road area for more than 40 years and my biggest concern now is the traffic.’

In January about 150 people gathered at the site to protest when four of the historic trees were cut down.

The trust at the time said the trees were unsafe, however residents were upset.

Another march to protest about the felling took place in July.

Mrs Barrett said they would be continuing to monitor the development at the hospital.

She said Keep Milton Green was working with all the parties concerned and that they were in talks with Solent NHS trust.

A ‘phase two’ masterplan for the area is due from the Homes and Communities Agency this month.

To get involved with the group follow @Keepmiltongreen on Twitter or search ‘Keep Milton Green!!’ on Facebook.