Community consultation

In March and April 2022, we asked the community for feedback to help shape our draft Master Plan and Tree Management Plan for St James Park. We asked specific questions about trees along the central diagonal avenue and southern avenue of St James Park.

We asked about:

  • your preferred approach for replacing the elm trees along the central diagonal avenue and the southern avenue
  • which new tree species you would prefer to see planted along the central diagonal avenue.

We received feedback from different groups in our community through our online survey and onsite drop-in sessions.

What we found out

We asked our community to help decide the best way to manage some of the trees at the end of their life during our 2022 planting season.

Central diagonal avenue

There was a clear preference for how to manage the central diagonal avenue.

We presented 2 options to the community to find the best way to remove and replace trees along the avenue. We also provided a third option for the community to say they didn't have a preference. Out of these, 47% of people preferred the option to replace the trees one side at a time. This would involve removing and replacing trees on the south-east side first (where the trees are in poorer condition) and pruning the deadwood from the north-west trees. Arborists would then come back in 2 to 3 years to replace the north-west trees. This option was a clear majority compared to the other 2 options.

We also presented 3 options to the community to find out which tree species they wanted to see planted along the avenue. We found out 47% of people preferred to see the Chestnut-leaved Oak (Quercus castaneifolia) species planted along the avenue. This option was a clear majority compared to the other 2 options.

Southern avenue

We received mixed views about how to manage some of the trees along the park’s southern avenue:

  • 28% of people preferred the option to remove and replace all the trees along the avenue this year.
  • 21% of people preferred the option to remove and replace the trees on each end of the row of trees, and prune the 3 trees in the middle until they can also be replaced within 3 years.
  • 18% of people preferred the option to prune the deadwood on all trees this year, and remove and replace the trees in 3 years.
  • 30% of people didn’t have a preference.

Works we will complete

Based on community feedback, we have decided on our approach to manage the trees in the park and will start works in mid-June 2022.

Tree removals and pruning

We will remove the trees on the south-east side of the central diagonal avenue and prune the deadwood from the north-west side trees.

We will also prune the deadwood in the trees along the park’s northern avenue.

Based on mixed views in the community about how to manage the southern avenue trees, we have decided to take a conservative approach. We will remove the trees most in need of removal first and prune the deadwood from all others.

The trees we will remove and replace are marked on the map below.

A map of St James Park showing 14 trees along the central diagonal avenue that we will remove and replace.  It also shows 7 trees along the southern avenue that we will remove and replace.

New plantings

After we remove the trees, we will prepare the sites and keep them tidy until we can plant the new trees. This means there will be trees missing from the park for a while. It’s important that we make sure the soil conditions are improved before new trees are planted.

We expect to plant the new trees during our 2022 planting season. However, this will depend on when the best quality stock is available for:

  • Chestnut-leaved Oak (Quercus castaneifolia) along the central diagonal avenue
  • new elms along the southern avenue to replace the elms at the end of their life. This avenue has more shelter and will still be suitable for elms – unlike the less sheltered central diagonal avenue.

If good quality stock isn't available during our 2022 planting season, then we will plant between May and September 2023.

What will happen during pruning

When arborists prune the deadwood from aging trees, they might find out there is more damage to a tree than what they could see from the ground. As much as possible, arborists will try to save the tree. However, in extreme cases a tree may need to be removed. This means we may find other trees that need to be removed and replaced in the park that aren’t marked on the map.

How we will use the timber

We will reuse suitable timber from the trees and branches we remove in a sustainable way. They will be milled and create timber for future furniture-making. This helps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and will reduce the amount of chipping needed.

An update on our draft Master Plan

We are still reviewing feedback we received to inform our draft Master Plan. We will share findings from the community consultation and present the draft Master Plan for feedback in early-2023.