Whitstable loss: the destruction of the Castle Grounds
I’ve just come back from the Castle Grounds. At the time of writing all of the 15 major trees due for removal have come down, and there are piles of logs all over the grounds, like gravestones to mark their passing.
It’s a scene of devastation on a grand scale, heart-rending to see: the loss of so much habitat, the wanton destruction of a place of such tranquil beauty.
Why worry about yobs and vandals ruining our public spaces when our own council seem to be intent upon doing the job for them?
If you’ve read the March edition of the Whitstable Imp, then you might have seen the interview with Darren Simpson, the chairman of the Castle Trust. According to that magazine, the reason the trees had to come down was because they were either diseased or damaging the building.
Oh dear. This is very misleading. One tree was showing signs of disease, one tree was in the way of the building works. As for the rest, they were not removed for these reasons at all, but for other reasons entirely, such as, for instance, that they would spoil the view of the Castle, or because they were the wrong species, or in the wrong place.
Nothing to do with disease or damage. They were accidental intrusions upon the Council’s so-called “vision”.
Vision? Short-sightedness might be a better term.
Something I noticed from talking to various people involved with the development of the Castle Grounds was that they all tended to repeat certain rhetorical flourishes. “Vision” was one. Another was the reference to landscapes as “living entities”.
Well no, a landscape isn’t a living entity. A tree is a living entity, and if you remove 15 mature trees from a landscape - plus all the wildlife they harbour, birds and insects and animals - then the landscape becomes that much less living.
Personally I think that some of the trees were removed to open up a sea-view in order to increase potential revenue.
It is a sign of the inherent destructiveness of our political system that it puts money before life.
More by this Author
You may have seen Alan Davies, the comedian, on QI with Stephen Fry, quoting from a song about Peter Cushing, who spent the last years of his life in Whitstable
Mentioned in an article in the New York Times recently, Whitstable is a unique Kent coastal town just over an hour by train from central London. CJ Stone liked it so much he decided to move there.
I want to use this opportunity to say goodbye to my friend Sandie Back, who died recently after a long struggle with cancer.