Friday, June 22, 2012

Trees concern at new school site

Constituents have contacted me to voice concern that two trees have been removed from the Blackness Road boundary of the site of the new St Joseph's and Park Place primary/nursery schools (new building - right).   It is understood that these trees were originally a gift to the city and looked lovely in bloom, so residents are disappointed they have been removed.

I contacted the City Council's education capital projects manager about this and have received the following feedback:

"The two trees in question have been removed after careful consideration and with full consultation with the Council Forestry Officer, Planning Case Officer and Team leader.

Essentially the proximity of the artificial playing surface and the retainment around this facility have dictated the need for the trees to be removed.  The actual root ball of the tree would not be materially affected by the installation of the retaining wall.  Unfortunately, however, the root infrastructure for the tree water system would be compromised and this may well have an effect on the trees' health which could have resulted in it dying over the course of the coming months.

In addition the opinion of the Council Forestry Officer was that the trees have a limited future life possibly another 10 to 12 years and therefore a void may be left in the site even if the watering network of the roots were not compromised.

It is not envisaged at this stage that any further trees along the Blackness Road elevation or other areas of the site will require to be removed.

The strategy agreed with the Council planners is to plant 5 new trees between the Blackness Road boundary and the retaining wall, with a further 4 trees around the corner into the Glenagnes Road perimeter of the site.  Again this has been done in consultation with the Planning Department, prior to making the decision to remove the exiting two trees.

In addition further trees will be planted on site as per the agreed planning permission soft landscaping layout."

The loss of any mature trees is to be regretted, so I am relieved that no further trees will be removed and that new trees will be planted.