BBC North West Tonight- 31st January coverage of our day in the Park.

Start at 14 min 35 to see report on BBC North West tonight 31st January coverage our Day in the Park.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qb632/North_West_Tonight_31_01_2013/

We have been objecting to the tree felling since March 2011 when the plans were discussed at the first and only public open day in the park. We’ve not been listened to which is why direct action is now taking place.

And if the council’s consultation is so good,

– Prove  it by showing us the list of residents that approved of the plan by November 2011

and also

-Prove they knew about even your erroneous figure of 258 trees to be cut down when they approved of it.

(The council have already acknowledged in writing  that there are  unspecified areas where trees have not been included in their  258 figure of trees cut so why do they keep repeatedly stating 258 in public? )

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4 Responses to BBC North West Tonight- 31st January coverage of our day in the Park.

  1. Tracy says:

    http://www.manchester.gov.uk/blog/leadersblog/post/586/comment
    Oh look, here is the leader’s blog from yesterday, focusing on climate change. The irony. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
    I feel an email to Richard Leese coming on.

  2. Tracy says:

    Here is the text of my email (if anyone is interested!):

    Dear Mr Leese,

    I have just read your blog on climate change. It was interesting to contrast your words with what is happening in Alexandra Park, Moss Side at the moment, namely the destruction of healthy, mature trees.

    You probably saw the article on BBC NorthWest Tonight last night. If not, you might want to catch it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01qb632/North_West_Tonight_31_01_2013/ at around the 14 minute mark.

    Below is a copy of email correspondence sent to my local councillors and Eddie Flanagan, to which I await a response.

    I am wondering if the Heritage Lottery Fund will ever work with Manchester City Council again, as the first bid for the regeneration of the park was rejected due to lack of full consultation, and now there are protests over the way the consultation was carried out for the second bid. I myself was lied to during this consultation and only gave my support because I was told that only diseased trees would be removed. There is no way I would support the removal of healthy trees purely for the cosmetic aspect of returning the park to how it looked in its Victorian days.

    I really am disgusted by this whole affair. If I could afford to move out of Manchester I would, because the Council repeatedly seems not to listen to the citizens. It’s a shame, because I love the city and the University, but the Council seems hell-bent on destroying green spaces. Birley Fields spring to mind, the debacle that was Hough End Fields, the impending removal of the wardens on the Mersey Valley – these are three that spring to mind immediately without any effort.

    My questions to you are – will you investigate what has happened in the consultation procedure, will you halt the tree felling and meet with the protesters to re-evaluate the plans and keep those trees which are healthy, or will you just ignore this situation and the very bad publicity and feeling it is generating towards the City Council? Actions speak louder than words, and your words about climate change ring hollow in my ears at the moment.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to your response.

    Yours sincerely,

    Tracy Neil

  3. Please see this letter from local councillor At least she replied!

    ear Helen,

    Thank you for contacting me about Alexandra Park. I am pleased that you are happy about all the funds are going to be spent on the restoration of the park. In responding to your concerns about the loss of some of the trees, I want, on behalf of my colleague Councillors to give you as full a picture as possible about what is happening in the Park and why.

    The plans for the restoration and refurbishment of Alexandra Park were formally submitted to the Planning Committee in October 2011 and, as usual with planning applications, the plans were publicised for consultation. Five objections to the plans were received, summarised as:
    – Loss of trees and destruction of habitat and associated impact on wildlife and biodiversity, have Greater Manchester Ecological Unit been consulted?
    – Overprovision of tennis courts and insecure boundary treatments to those courts
    – Criticism of the design of the pavilion extension

    Five letters of support were received, summarised as:
    – Thrilled at the proposed plans for the park
    – The park has been neglected for so long, this provides many positives to the community and builds on the vision of the founders of the park whilst making it fit for the people of Manchester in 2011.
    – Considerable local consultation in which the local residents have played an active role has lead to a cohesive and diverse plan for the development of the park
    – The demolition of the Surestart building on site should be conditional on the acceptance of the Heritage Lottery Bid.

    The Friends of Alex Park were quoted in the report to the Planning Committee as follows: “Whole hearted support for this application which relates to the Heritage Lottery Bid to refurbish and restore the fabric of this historic park. The Friends Group have been closely involved with this process from the very start of the first bid 10 years ago. This is the third bid to be submitted. We have been consulted in detail at every stage and greatly appreciate the efforts of all those involved. There are some who are concerned that the plans involve the removal of some trees and undergrowth, but they fail to appreciate the longterm benefit represented by these plans, which include sensitive replanting and restoration of this historic landscape and the refurbishment of the remaining historic buildings and structures. It would be a travesty if all the hard work and effort (not to mention expense) involved in this drawn out process, was wasted by the failure of the planning application, and we therefore urge the planning committee to grant the necessary permissions.”

    None of the objectors attended the Planning Committee. Representatives of the Friends Group did attend. The planning application was approved.

    In December 2011 the Council’s bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for the restoration and refurbishment of the Park was successful. The Council has match funded the bid from its Capital Budget and about £1m has been granted by various Sports Bodies so that a total of over £5m is being invested in the restoration and refurbishment.

    The plans for Alexandra Park have been discussed for 10 years and the Council has tried hard to involve as many people as possible in these discussions. The 2011 consultation highlighted, for example, that the natural aspect of the park is very important to some users. This directly led to the creation within the plans of separately zoned areas within the park. and three distinct zones were created – a Community Zone, a Natural Zone, and a Formal Zone. These modifications were introduced in direct response to feedback from consultation. Although Alexandra Park is a Grade II registered park, there was no intention to recreate a park that is totally Victorian in nature. By creating separate zones it was intended to create a contemporary park fit for modern day demands. Consultation has shown that Alexandra Park has a diverse range of users. The intention is that by having the three zones with their own character and focus, the park will cater to the many differing needs and interests whether it is the natural world, heritage appreciation, social activity, sports or play.

    The Park covers an area of 60 acres; it has a stock of 1590 trees within the boundary walls. Whilst many have been planted some are self sown and have developed within shrubberies which are dense, creating areas of the park where some people have expressed concerns over personal safety.

    As part of the restoration 258 trees will be removed;
    53 of these have been identified in the tree survey as needing to be removed for arboricultural reasons including being poor quality specimens;
    58 trees will be removed to address issues of personal safety.

    92 trees will be planted in the park including varieties already present such as Lime, London Plane and Poplar and adding new species such as Oak, Rowan, Cherry, Apple trees, and Pear trees bringing greater diversity to the tree species in the park.

    Overall, 90% of the tree stock in the park will be retained.

    Also being planted is 7000m2 of a variety of plants and shrubs creating an area rich in flowering plants and berries essential to improving the biodiversity in the park and a home for wildlife.

    The raised terrace comprises mainly sycamore and maple trees that were planted in the 1970’s, these particular non-native trees are considered to be highly invasive and have limited conservation value according to the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit. The reason for felling the trees in this location is to restore the terrace as an open raised area with wide footpaths and views across the rest of the park.

    Within the funding that has been made available to the restoration and refurbishment of the park is sufficient to employ a gardener and apprentice gardeners to maintain the planted areas for the next 10 years.

    As you can see, I have gone in to a lot of detail about Alexandra Park in the hope that the information I have provided alleviates your concerns.

    Angeliki Stogia
    Labour Councillor for Whalley Range

    Mobile: 07901 528 750
    Fax: 0161 274 7009
    http://www.manchester.gov.uk
    Like · · Unfollow post · Promote
    Andrew Magee likes this.

  4. I would suggest that everyones vision should be met and the unnecessary cutting down of such a large amount of established trees is ecologically disastrous!

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