News and views from the heart of England - Issue 4    © David Smith 2018

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Town Council meeting


Chairman (Cllr. Emily Eaven-Handid): We now move on to the next item on the agenda: the proposed removal of seventeen mature oak trees along Station Road. Who is the proposer of this motion?

Cllr. Arthur Progress (stands up): I am the proposer, Madam Chairman. I’d like to explain my reasons for bringing this proposal before the council. I have been approached by many members of the public who are genuinely concerned for their safety, both of themselves and other pedestrians along Station Road on the way to catch their trains in the mornings and evenings. I have also talked to staff at the Outpatients Department at Plugborough Hospital, and they can confirm that – in the last few years – there has been a marked rise in the number of clinic attendees for minor injuries, most notably bruising and minor abrasions to knees and...

Cllr. Hugo Ludd (interrupting impatiently): ...Yes, yes, that is all very well, Mr Progress, but why should a rise in the number of minor injuries be a justification for cutting down these superb Oak trees? The trees were small saplings planted before the war, and they have, to be frank, been in Station Road a great deal longer than most of the people who walk along it. Surely you, as a member of the Progressive Social Party, should be in favour of maintaining trees as part of our natural environment? And anyway, I know for a fact...

Chairman (cutting in forcefully): I must ask Cllr. Ludd to address his remarks to the chair, and to politely request that he allow Cllr. Progress to finish his presentation to the council. Mr Progress, please continue.

Cllr. Progress: Thank you, Madam Chairman. As I was saying, there has been a marked, and unfortunate rise in the number of outpatient attendances, and it appears these are arising as a result of collisions between the pedestrians who walk along Station Road, and the aforementioned Oak trees. I think they should be cut down, and Station Road paved over, as a matter of urgency, for the protection of public safety...

Cllr. Ludd: Madam Chairman! I must protest! Mr Progress knows exactly what is causing these collisions, and it is nothing to do with harmless and innocent oak tr...

Chairman (angrily): Progress must continue, Mr Ludd!

Cllr. Progress: I’d also like to remind members of the situation in the City of London recently where an architectural water feature was thoughtfully bricked over to prevent pedestrians from falling into it and breaking their ankles while going about their normal activities between Tower Bridge and London Bridge Station. I think the situation here is very similar. The public needs to be protected. Cutting down these mature trees and replacing them with smooth concrete is the only way to achieve that aim, and of fostering greater social cohesion and the sharing of common experiences. This, I might add, is not a trivial ambition among the public today.

Chairman: Mr Ludd?

Cllr. Ludd: Thank you, Madam Chairman. The reason the London water feature was filled in, as Mr Progress well knows, was because the idiots walking along the street were so engrossed with their mobile phones they weren’t even looking at where they were walking, let alone looking at and appreciating their surroundings. It’s no wonder they fell in. They deserved it, and I have no sympathy for them! Well, the situation is exactly the same in Station Road. I have spent time sitting on the benches watching them. They walk along, heads bowed over, tapping away at their phones, paying no attention to where they are and what is going on around them, and they just walk smack into the trees. It serves them right. What do they expect? Are they complete dunderheads? Can’t they see there’s a whole world around them? It was not like that in my day!

Chairman: Shall we put it to a vote, Ladies and Gentlemen?

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