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Building Opinions: Robert on Hove Civic Society’s ‘Street Tree’ project

When Hove Civic Society was formed during the 1960s, it was a protest group. In recent years, under the chairmanship of Helmut Lusser, the society is now leading the debate by proposing rather than opposing.

Building Opinions
I have previously mentioned Hove Civic Society’s plans for a plinth for public art on Hove’s promenade which I very much support. I recently met with Helmut to discuss the society’s ongoing project to populate and, in many cases, repopulate our streets with, quite simply, trees.

The project really got going in 2012, with a study of Hove’s streets to identify where planting might be helpful. Success was had in December of that year with the planting of 12 elms in the Montpelier area. In December 2013, 40 trees (hornbeam and smooth-leaved elm) were planted near Stoneham Park. Discussions are now being held regarding Bigwood Avenue and, far more ambitiously, the Church Road area.Building Opinions

Looking back over old photographs of Hove, it is quite clear that hundreds of trees have vanished over the past century. This is sad, as they are hugely attractive and provide shade and a haven for wildlife. On boulevards such as New Church Road and The Drive, they are a delight.

Trees won’t work on every street. Osborne Villas, a street that I know well, certainly wouldn’t be suitable. The pavements and road itself are narrow and trees would just seem out of proportion. Wide St Aubyns nearby has trees and, despite the generous height of its buildings, seems dominated by foliage. Perhaps its magnificent elms just need cutting back a bit.

The project relies on grants, match-funding from the council and donations from kind residents. If you are pining to get involved, contact