Upset as Westferry Traffic Light Tree removed

By Rob Virtue on December 8, 2011 11:57 AM |

traffic light tree.jpg

The loss of a Canary Wharf icon is being mourned.

Last weekend Tower Hamlets Council began work to remove the Traffic Light Tree from the roundabout at Westferry causing upset among those living and working in the area.

The sculpture, which has 75 flashing lights, is seen by many as part of the area's history and in 2005 it led to Westferry winning a competition to find the best roundabout in the country.

On Twitter, Dan Hopchet said: "They definitely are tearing down the Traffic Light Tree! #ridiculous something better replace it."

Chris Ballard added: "Nooo, they've dismantled the traffic light tree. That was a canary wharf icon."

In August, rumours surfaced Tower Hamlets Council, which owned the tree, was planning to take it away as part of a remodelling of the roundabout.

The Wharf reported talks were ongoing between borough officials and housing association Poplar Harca to move it to a new site.

On Thursday morning, no-one from the Council was available for comment about the removal or where the sculpture was going.

The tree was the work of French sculptor Pierre Vivant and put in place in 1998. It was originally erected to replace one of three London plane trees which were at Westferry Road.

Made of steel, the eight metres high model is controlled by computers.

In 2005, Westferry was voted the country's best roundabout in a survey of 3,000 drivers by Saga Motor Insurance.

At the time of its erection, Vivant said: "The sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London plane trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities."

11 Comments

Paul F said:

Surely Canary Wharf has got some spare cash to rescue this? It was a very good landmark, while it lasted!

John Harvey said:

In the days of the London Docklands Developmentt Corporation relationships between that body and Tower Hamlets' highways engineer were illustrated by the latter's statement that the traffic lights Xmas tree would only be erected by the former over his dead body.

I remember a colleague ringing his assistant to ask where we were to send flowers.

David Potts said:

I'm glad it's going. As a regular motorist over this section of road, I've seen too many (presumably visiting) drivers think that it was a real set of traffic lights and just pull out into the roundabout without looking. Thankfully, we haven't had to wait until there was a fatality before the stupid thing was removed.

Voltaire C. said:

I don't think we could call it a stupid thing. Sorry but I don't agree with that. I am not a motorist but yet I spend most of my time here at canary wharf and I regret they have removed an icon.

Voltaire C. said:

I don't think we could call it a stupid thing. Sorry but I don't agree with that. I am not a motorist but yet I spend most of my time here at canary wharf and I regret they have removed an icon.

Bowboy said:

Love it or hate it, this was an unfortunate distraction to drivers at a roundabout.

David said:

There have been NO injuries at the roundabout. the Traffic Light Tree may have been a distraction - but only in a positive way, as the uninitiated would slow down.
The only issue with the roundabout was not due to the tree, but simply 3-series BMW drivers taking racing lines through the junction (rather than driving round it, keeping in lane) and not indicating at any point.

The tree SHOULD be returned. I have been informed it's owned by the council - and therefore the tax payers.

The roundabout is being remodelled.

Cllr Gloria Thienel said:

The council does own the Tree & I am working with the Highways Department for Islanders to have a say in where it is re-sited . Must stay on the Island
Eamil me if you wish to have your voice heard .I will add it to the growing list of people who have already contacted me.

rob shepherd said:

It can only look better

M C Miller said:

Return our tree! Or at least erect it somewhere for us to see it. Loved it from the first minute I saw it. It did not cause accidents.

T Cameron said:

I miss the tree. Hope to see it again soon.

The Wharf The Wharf

Read The Wharf's

E-Editions