Eco-warriors rally to the sound of suburban protest

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The Independent Online
They come from different walks of life, but yesterday they met in common purpose to protect a row of poplar trees in a public park threatened with being cut down to make way for a housing development.

The well-heeled residents of Kingston upon Thames, south-west London, have been joined by seasoned eco-warriors of the Newbury bypass and Twyford Down disputes in the battle to save the trees.

The Liberal Democrat-run council is due to go to the High Court in the near future to get an enforcement order, and the chainsaws are expected to be put into action afterwards. Yesterday's meeting was to plan contingencies for when that happened.

Peter Hitcham, a member of the residents' pressure group, Friends of Canbury Gardens, said: "We are very grateful for all the support we are getting, but we know we are up against the big battalions. "We have a wide assortment of people here, but we all have a common goal."

The poplars were planted in Thirties to shield Canbury Gardens from a power station which has since been demolished.

Developers Fairclough Homes are building an estate of luxury flats and houses on the derelict land, and part of the agreement with the council is for the trees to be chopped down so that residents can have river views.