Work is due to start on the second phase of the tree management work at Wentworth Gardens – the old Civil Service Sports Ground. The original planning approval for the site included thinning out the tree belt in four phases with a gap between each phase to allow newly planted areas to establish. The second phase of the tree work is about to take place which will entail removal of a section of the beeches along Howarth Way and another section of beeches along Donkey Lane to create and age structure to the tree belt. The trees will be replaced with native species. It is likely that Donkey Lane and Howarth Way will have to be closed temporarily during the tree works.
The Planning Department at City hall have provided the following information about the works and the reason for them:
“The plan, in short, is to remove the two entire rows of beech trees along Donkey Lane and Haworth Way and replace them with mixed native tree belts. This is to take place in four phases the first phase having been completed in 2013. The second phase of tree removal and replacement is due this year hence the works starting on site.
Whilst the work may seem surprising and drastic to some, the works are being undertaken to deliver long terms biodiversity, ecological and visual benefits. Full details of the context and history to this is available in the May 2018 committee report and its appendices.
The current beech trees are all single species and not particularly good specimen because they have grown tall and narrow competing with each other in search for light. The trees are dependent on each other and whilst they currently appear to have core strength as a group, given this group dependence and that they are all the same age, there will be a point in the future when one starts to fail they will all fail in quick succession. In addition, the fact that the tree groups are a single species means that they do not support anywhere near as much wildlife as an equivalent mixed species tree belt. As a result, the existing trees have relatively very limited long-term biodiversity value, albeit do provide significant visual value in the wider area.
The previous decision to take the course of action proposed also gave consideration to the amenity implications of the existing trees for nearby properties. This is not just those within the new development but also those to the west on Wentworth Green and to the north on Glenalmond and Carnoustie (which are affected by the trees to a greater extent than those on the new development).
The proposals involve replacement with mixed native tree belts, which in the long run will provide far greater visual and ecological benefit. The scheme has been designed in such a way to seek to minimise the short-term impacts as far as possible. The phased approach to the project with removal in four phases over a 16-year period seeks to minimise the short-term impact (in visual and also ecological terms). This also ensures the new tree belts are of a mixed age.”
Here is the overall plan agreed by Planning for all phases of the tree works: