To consider the report of the Executive Director Environment
A Member commented that the project should aim to level up what appeared to be an uneven provision of green space in the City, and that such an aim should be added as a factor in decision-making around where to site trees.
A Member asked for residents to be consulted on the project, and for new bids to be involved.
A Member asked whether the Committee was involved in planting in City gardens, and the Committee heard that responsibility for City garden-planting presently lay within the realm of the Open Spaces & City Gardens Committee.
A Member asked whether the St Peter Cheap green space (Wood St/Cheapside) would be renovated as planned. The Committee heard that a planting and seating review was being considered for that space.
A Member asked about the timeframe for information about whether the current blockage of the roadway at Finsbury Circus would become parking space. The Committee heard that feedback on a site visit planned to take place in early May would be provided.
A Member commented that a masterplan would be helpful, that more pop-up green spaces would be welcome, and that further work with building managers/owners would be useful in the management of open spaces.
The meeting heard that a masterplan would be submitted to future meetings, and that partnerships were being rolled out.
A Member asked whether owners of private land were being encouraged to nurture green spaces, and the meeting heard that private landowners were being strongly encouraged to continue their involvement with green space designs.
A Member asked what public realm areas could be enhanced, and what priorities might lie within such areas. The meeting heard that criteria considerations were being drawn up as part of a Gateway 3-4 report, and that trees would be planted during the October to March planting season.
A Member asked for clarification on the Urban Greening Factor (referenced on p.24 of the agenda pack), and on the risks around large trees potentially damaging nearby older buildings.
The Committee heard that the Urban Greening Factor was to be used to a greater extent, that potential achievements varied greatly, and that realistic targets were being drawn up. The Committee noted that foundation protection was a risk but that planting was done carefully to take into account nearby structures.
A Member asked whether the criteria could be submitted to the Committee ahead of any planting, and the meeting heard that some criteria could be submitted.
A Member asked whether there was any scope for greater ambition that could encompass sponsorship, and the meeting heard that further studies would be required to increase the 100-tree minimum, and that maintenance was a key consideration.
RESOLVED, That the Committee
1. Approve the commencement of the project;
2. Approve the release of £80,000 from the Cool Streets and Greening programme for staff costs, fees and site investigations to reach the next gateway;
3. Note that delivery will be phased across 3 years with an initial Gateway 5 (Chief Officer approved) report in autumn 2022 to enable tree-planting to take place in the next planting season;
4. Note the total estimated cost of the project at £1.5-2.5m.