If things continue the way they have done in the past 5 years, there will soon be no trees left in our local environment. And with them will vanish the nesting birds, bats and other gentle at risk creatures whose habitat has been removed irrevocably!
Developers must make their investments immediately appealing to those visitors they have focused on to bring them income.
They do not concern themselves with the loss of environment for the future. By then the decision makers, who do not live locally, will be well gone. The destruction of the natural parts of our environment will never have occurred to them at the time and will not be in their thoughts in the future.
I believe that the big problem is the planning system in Birmingham (and maybe the rest of the country).
First of all I believe that looking back to the 1990’s the Ladywood district of Birmingham had a lot of waste land, derelict because the old factories had closed and the buildings demolished. Council Planning officials were desperate for developers to transform the city into a place to visit and live in. As a result planning permission was more or less a formality and the detail of what was proposed particularly the effect on the environment was not looked at too closely. One thing that suffered badly was the tree population and green areas.
Take a look at the apartment developments that have taken place in the past two decades in our area – KEW, Watermarque, Liberty Place, Symphony Court, Waterside Court and Brindley Point. There are no trees or greenery within them or outside them.
So where are there some trees and greenery?
Brindleyplace has two squares with a handful of trees and a lawn occupying 30% of the main square and the only decent population of trees in O0zels square (home of the Ikon Gallery) but no lawns.
The NIA has some trees around its periphery.
That’s it. Take a look at a Google map of the area to verify what I say.
So, what is happening now to our trees?
In Brindley Place the smokers’ shelter and trees outside No 5 building have disappeared over the last week or so. I can’t find any planning permission for this .The before and after images tell all….
The NIA Redevelopment is to take its toll on our trees. It’s probably too late now to protest as the removal of the trees was in the original planning application which was passed on 3 October 2012.
14 trees of differing degree of maturity are to be removed – some are quite tall and many decades old and all are healthy (according to Section 4 of an Arboricultural Assessment report in the original application). These can be seen in the photos (below). They lie between the two canal bridges leading up to the canal junction and from the canal bridge over the start of the Birmingham and Fazeley canal to the King Edwards Road canal bridge. Further, there appears to be no provision for replanting any sort of greenery in the area; so concrete steps and red brickwork will replace the greenery.
All the greenery on the NIA side of the canal shown below will disappear.
The Library of Birmingham development meant that 30 trees were removed from the site and part of Centenary Square plus some lawns. By way of compensation terraced areas on the 3rd and 7th floors are being planted with native shrub species. However, these are not visible from the ground and hence the area has effectively lost a lot of greenery.
To accommodate No 11 Brindleyplace a number of trees disappeared from the pavement surrounding the front of the building. However, the current wide pavement plus part of the wide road could have made the tree removal not necessary . Below is the view now with no trees to relieve the glass panelled building. How much more attractive it would have been with the trees.
How to combat the destruction of our trees
I think we need to search any new planning applications for the area for their effect on trees and the environment.