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Credit Photos by Dai O'Nysius
Photo by Dai O’Nysius

Manchester City Council will cut down all of this Glorious Little Avenue.

It will be replaced by Flower beds and small shrubs the planners say.

That’s what used to be there 100 years ago said council contracted planners.

It is estimated 3.3 acres of wildlife habitat, home to bats identified in local surveys will also be removed under the plan, is being contested by local residents.

The £ 2.2 million deal between Lottery Heritage funds and 1.9 million top up from the Manchester City Council and £0.5 million from sports funders is ignoring the environmental impact and no sustainability plan was available when council were asked at the council’s open day to show off the plan to residents in the park on Saturday 1st December.

The long smaller avenue of 50 plus maple and red and green sycamore trees are all due to be cut which equates to 2000 plus years and tree growth alone. (photo above)

210 more trees will also be cut by the council, which could inflate this figure to 10,000 years or more of tree growth.

Local residents are shocked by the 260 trees being cut when the extent of cutting was discovered by local residents on the 27th November. See Part 1 of this here and Part 2 here

Cutting has been given the approval of the parks tree officers. The MCC did not inform the local Whalley Range Tree group under an agreement to advise them of all tree cuttings after hundreds of street trees were again threatened in March last year.

In that case cutting started and residents confronted contractors after many months of council refusal to back down on the plan. BBC and other news coverage helped change the councils stand. See the video of what happened here

Cutting could happen any day said one resident. An email from the councils local project officer for the park plan, Deborah Marsden said work will start by December 10th 2012
alex.park@manchester.gov.uk

A project manager for the council said they would not change the plan at the 1st December Council open day.

“It cannot be changed otherwise we won’t get the money from the Heritage Lottery fund to do up the park” she said.

She also blamed the situation on Heritage Lottery Fund saying they had refused to accept two other plans where the healthy tree avenue as pictured above would be saved to some extent. The councils contracted planner also present on the day said the same thing.

The Heritage Lottery Fund statement issued on this blog suggests they do not want to unnecessarily cut down trees so whats gone wrong here? Is anybody big enough to acknowledge  that and adopt a new plan that prevents cutting down healthy trees rather than the completely dismissive attitude of the council  we have experienced so far.

1200 plus people  signed the petition after a week or so and questioning of people in the park  on the 29th November, 3rd and 7th December suggests 9 out of 10 people walking in the park still do not know about it and of those people 100% did not want to loose 260 trees and wetlands wildlife habitats . Protest signs in the park and in surrounding areas indicating the cutting have been repeatably removed while signs for the council open day have been left in place long after their  event.

The council appears not to have released the tree cutting plan for around 260 tree  during the planning process which ended in council approving the plan  on 1st November  2011.

It was discovered a year later by a chance meeting with one of the council’s contracted planners in the park  on 29th of November 2012 and confirmed  at the councils open day to show off the plans which was an information only day on 1st Dec 2011 . Planning was closed as were objections  the council said on the day.

It is has only been the HLF North West who have been involved in the project  that has been interested in what we have to say so far as at December 7th and has agreed to  hearing more.

30 major trees will also be cut for 6 new tennis courts.

The Courts are part of another city wide deal between The Lawn Tennis Association and the Manchester City Council.

“This is a priority for both the LTA and the City Council” the council said in an email to a local resident who was not happy about the plan.

Planning permission for the 6 courts has already been granted by the council.

Residents also pointed out that wet leaves and tennis courts don’t mix and the surviving trees within a few meters of the 6 courts will be under threat to be removed when they realise how wet it is here.

An environmental noise impact survey has not been seen and local residents are not happy that the 2 existing courts, which have fallen into disrepair due to lack of local interest in the middle of the park, will now be moved to their back doors.

Lights on the courts were also identified as causing further problems especially at night time as problems already exist said many local residents.

“We have pointed many things out in the past and they have been ignored “said several upset residents at the open day.

The friends of the park group and the ‘people’s panel’ who have been ‘consulted’ in the process has had many members leave over the inflexibility of the dealings with the council and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Others are not happy. “Those friends that stay are the ones who just accept it, others have left in disgust” said one resident who did not want to be named.

alexandra park-avenue

The avenue of tree that will be cut along with many others near by

alexandra park

A lot of trees will have to go. Look at the relative size of two courts on the second picture below to allow for the 6 courts.

alexandra park

alexandra park

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7 Responses to Home

  1. lee grimshaw says:

    tennis courts we live in moss side for gods sake ….leave these beautifull trees

  2. Pauline A says:

    I remember playing in Alec park as a child in the fifties and I’m so pleased that at last it’s being restored to how it was when I was a child; but please leave the trees alone they are the park. Build more tennis courts, give people more recreational facilties Moss Side like any other area deserves it, but please leave the trees alone.

  3. Yasmin Quayyum says:

    (COPY OF WHAT I WROTE IN RESPONSE TO RELATED E-MAILS I RECEIVED):
    Hi, I’ve read all of the e-mails below (along with the other related e-mails in my inbox) with keen interest and have still decided to go ahead and sign the petition;
    In response to some of the points below: I am not from America; nor am I new to the area. What I am, is concerned that any biodiversity initiatives do not come at the expense of precious already existing trees. (No matter how much money’s on offer… – In my view, these days, sizeable sums of money on offer quite often dictate all sorts of agendas…)
    As has been aptly pointed out below, these trees have already well-proven their merits by the very fact that they have withstood all that has been described below. Surely, if anything, this should teach us something of their worth?
    That is not to say that I’m not appreciative of the need for bio-diversity – As a long-term active member of Birchfields Park Forest Garden, I am greatly aware of its need (although it should be noted that I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of our Forest Garden, nor the rest of the Friends of Birchfields Park) – But to my mind, the trees’ long-term existence in itself proves them a vital component of the local existing wildlife’s make-up. On top of their aesthetic qualities and historical merits, they additionally carry their own practical benefits, create their own wildlife habitat, and I wonder how fruit trees and berry bushes would measure up to their huge oxygen-generating capacities in this polluted city? – Like I said, these are just my personal opinions but I’m going to sign the petition now.
    Best regards, Yasmin Quayyum.

  4. mike says:

    Forests are the “lungs of the planet”. They play a vital role in nutrient and water cycling and exert a global scale impact on the climate.

    Deforestation and associated activities currently account for almost one fifth of all carbon emissions, more than the entire transport sector.

    Trees also absorb CO2 and store it in living tissue, which eventually takes that carbon out of circulation permanently when leaves and dead wood are decomposed into the soil.

    Deforestation thus impacts on two levels, both directly emitting carbon and removing the ability to sequester it.

  5. Sotorrio says:

    I find modern sports grounds and facilities extremely depressing to look at. They’ve already allowed these kinds of changes to St Bede’s Sports Ground (Brantingham Road) where about 70 trees were cut down just so leaves won’t fall on the revolting astroturf. (Bizarrely, for no apparent reason, an exotic tree infront of the caretaker’s house was also pulled out of the ground and dumped on a skip.)

    As I see it, those with the mindset that enables them to get into these decision-making positions, tend to put hard logic (e.g. misguided notions of ‘progress’ and ‘community’) before aesthetics and nature. It’s all about goal-setting, reaching targets, (‘end-gaining’) so it’s not in their thought process just to leave things alone. They are insensitive or desensitised to natural beauty -at least consciously.

    Fair enough, restore the lodge to it’s original condition, add a few sports facilities if necessary (like in Chorton Park), but leave the trees alone.

  6. Nasra says:

    Hi I feel very upset to hear that many trees would be cut down due to the new look Alexandra park.
    Alexandra park is a haven from the stresses and strains of life. The trees add to the tranquillity of finding peace in the park, with the wildlife adding the magic ingredient. Both trees and Wildlife go hand in hand serving us a service of beauty, neither one surviving without the other . I will try to do anything to stop this. Please include me in any updates, meeting and campaings you may have on this issue.

  7. chris lebasque says:

    i am really shocked and disgusted about
    these proposals . the local people don’t
    have a say at all.few would welcome it.
    there needs to be a publicity campaign in
    the surrounding areas to let people know
    with an online petition.
    all protest groups in the areas should
    know of these proposals.
    i today walked past the’ peace gardens’
    next to the main library on peters square
    and was shocked to see nearly all the
    trees have been cut down..area looks
    really decimated. picadilly gardens is
    a prime example of how things end up
    in the center of town..barren area with
    a soviet style concrete wall surrounding
    it. in the late sixties it used to have many
    trees with lush green areas and flowerbeds
    ..check the old photos and compare it to
    now. all in all..very depressing news.

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