It was on our “to do” list to get a statement from the Council (still is) – but in the meantime, this has come through from Chris Sedman.
UPDATE: We’ve added 6th December statement from HLF to the bottom of this post.
They’ve counted pretty much anything with a significant trunk, including self-sown things like sycamores all crowded together; hence what seems like a very high figure (254) of ‘trees’ under 500mm girth. The main tree lined walk is untouched, 11 large trees over 500mm girth go for various reasons – mainly safety.
74 new individual trees are added, 18 fruit trees and the new structure planting includes oak, rowan, cherry, beech, crab apples and lots of other wildlife friendly natives. There will also be many 100s of new flowering & berried plants and shrubs.
As a Garden Designer I’ve taken considerable interest in the proposals, especially the new planting.
These are the main reasons why I believe the tree felling in Alexandra Park should proceed as planned:
1 Biodiversity is crucial and far bigger and more important than just about having trees
2 The park at the moment is very limited in the range of trees/shrubs/plants used and is relatively dead & sterile in biodiversity terms for such a large wooded area – especially the raised walkway
3 At its creation the area was heavily polluted which severely restricted the trees/shrubs/plants that could be used because most things wouldn’t survive it
4 The raised walkway area is mainly one type of grubby sycamore and grass – almost monoculture; it’s not original and was created as a budget- cutting measure ~ 1960s. This is the opposite and enemy of biodiversity
5 I’ve examined the planting plans in great detail and the proposed planting of a wider range of trees, shrubs and perennials will dramatically increase the range of wildlife friendly planting
6 Crucially they incorporate nectar rich flowers and berries over a long period which is essential to increased biodiversity
7 We need to act now to protect the park for future generations – we’re only enjoying it now thanks to the far sightedness off the Victorians.
My only mild criticism is that the planting could be even more adventurous.
We should be celebrating this, not trying to wreck it. The headline should be:
‘New Wildlife Haven to be Created in Neglected City Park. Hundreds of New Wildlife Friendly Trees & Shrubs to be Planted: Local People Delighted!’
Hope these facts bring a bit of perspective to the debate!
UPDATE 6th December: Statement from Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund
Alexandra Park, Manchester – Tree management as part of park restoration.
In December 2011, Manchester City Council (MCC) was awarded £2.2million to restore Alexandra Park through the national Parks for People programme run by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
Sara Hilton, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said on behalf of HLF and BIG: “We recognise that there is public concern over the proposed tree felling at Alexandra Park and we are in discussion with Manchester City Council to agree a way forward. Inevitably, there are difficult decisions to make on any major park restoration but MCC, HLF and BIG want to ensure that all views are considered as the project is taken forward. We do not encourage unnecessary tree felling and want to continue to ensure that the funding from HLF and BIG enables the park to be developed so it fully reflects the needs of users and the local community.”
HLF Press Office: Laura Bates on 020 7591 6027, email: firstname.lastname@example.org