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The view of St Paul’s and the London skyline from Waterlow Park.

Waterlow Park Views public engagement 2023

An engagement undertaken in the autumn of 2023 asked the public to respond to the proposal that a lime tree be height reduced in order to open a new view of St Paul’s cathedral and generally enhance views of London. The obvious consequence being some loss of tree canopy.

The Trees and Views Group, founded by the Friends, advocated for the proposal as a way of retaining a view of the cathedral which is currently disappearing behind tree growth. The proposal was founded on the listed status of the park which includes ‘fine views’, and would have only a tiny impact on the park’s existing greenery. It was supported by the Friends of Waterlow Park and all local stakeholders who had been approached. The Trust Advisory Group had considered the proposal and also recommended that it proceed to the Trust.  The Trustee for Waterlow Park requested a wider public engagement exercise, to research what the wider public opinion would be about the proposal. The was a strong response to the online engagement and we would like to thank everyone who responded.  The results indicate that the public was unconvinced by the proposal, seemingly prioritising the preservation of the lime tree.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers and officers from Camden who spent a lot of time working up the proposal, communication material and survey. We have learnt a lot from the experience and together with Camden, will look at how we could improve any future engagements, and reduce the amount of time volunteers spend on them.

The Trees and Views Group believe the Trust should now:

  • Recognise that although the results of the engagement led to the recommendation that we do not do work to the Lime tree to open up a view of St Paul’s Cathedral that the view of the Cathedral from Waterlow Park is disappearing, and the situation should be kept in review.
  • Improve engagement practices, including properly supporting volunteers, streamlining processes and using alternative engagement techniques to enhance future public dialogue.

Waterlow Park has a historic connection to the city skyline which it is important to maintain. Whilst the outcome of the engagement was a disappointment, the process did establish that as a Trust park, policy regarding trees and other matters can differ from Camden council default policies which have applied until now. The issue of the view of St Paul’s will not disappear as the view itself continues to change due to tree growth.

The Waterlow Park Trees and Views Group

See the statement from the Trust about the engagement outcome 

See the engagement material that was presented