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Tree planting programme on the Kingsway

Around 170 new trees are being introduced as part of this £12m makeover that will transform the look and feel of the area.

It's one of Swansea city centre's biggest ever tree-planting operations.

The project will double the number of trees in this area of the city centre, add large grassy areas and install extra plants and shrubbery.

Which streets are part of this huge planting scheme?

Orchard Street, Mansel Street, Christina Street, Grove Place, The Kingsway, Alexandra Road, Belle Vue Way, De-La Beche Street.

In this area:

  • There are 110 trees now
  • We're planting around 170
  • 53 are staying
  • 57 are being removed
  • By the end of the programme there'll be around 220 trees - an increase of 100%

What new trees will be planted?

They include: Alder, Birch, Cherry, Lime, Maples, Flowering pear, Snowy mespilus, Katsura, Persian ironwood. They have been chosen for their form, flowering, leaf texture and autumn colouring as well as practical reasons within the street scene.

How big will the new trees be?

Generally, the new trees will be of the semi-mature or extra-heavy type. Generally, when planted the street trees will stand 7-10m in overall height. They will have a clear stem at their foot of around 3m. Additionally, there will be multi-stem trees as features in soft landscape areas.  

When will they be planted?

The new trees will be installed within the next two years between November and February, the best time for planting. They will be planted with devices that stop their roots causing damage to footways, avoiding trip hazards. 

How do we know they'll flourish?

Before planting they will be fully nurtured and developed as far as possible. The trees are being sourced by a contractor who is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the trees as they get established. The trees going in will be semi mature, well nurtured by the time they're planted and carefully tended as they get established.

Our specially designed tree pits, with good quality soils, have root containment systems which mean that our new trees will - in due course - mature without damaging pavements or creating trip hazards for pedestrians. They will help create the high quality green artery through the city centre that we aspire to.

When will they start to provide greenery on the streetscape?

Our plans will bring a park-like feel to key streets in the city centre, making it more accessible and more attractive for residents, shoppers and visitors alike. By the end of next year, The Kingsway will be a people-friendly urban park with a two-lane road running east and west.

After the planting of the first trees, foliage will emerge next spring and the trees will mature in future years. Large new areas of grass on The Kingsway's will be immediately visible upon laying next year.

Around half of The Kingsway will be pedestrianised, including the landscaped, grassed areas - meaning greenery replacing roads. The overall effect will be to create a green artery through the city centre. 

Which trees are going?

They are mainly semi-mature London plane trees planted around 30 years ago. They are large and cannot be re-planted elsewhere. 13 existing trees - specifically those on Kingsway Circle which were planted about 10 years ago in special root containment boxes - will be lifted and re-planted elsewhere in Swansea. This was previously undertaken when the works on West Way near the bus station was undertaken and 3 existing trees were similarly lifted from the special containment boxes and transplanted into the green area of the new central islands.

The council does not take lightly any decision to fell trees. That's why as many as possible already in the city centre will remain. By the time the work is finished, we will have doubled the number of trees in this area to around 220. 

The tree felling will remove those which are unhealthy or where heaving roots are causing problems by cracking up pavements or underground infrastructure like drains and gas pipes or nearby buildings. Some that have outgrown the location in which they were planted will also need to be replaced. 

When the work is completed there will be lots more trees, lots more greenery and a more welcoming ambience in the city centre.

Some of the timber from the felled trees will be donated to social enterprises.

What's the problem with the trees that are being removed?

The trees were planted around 30 years ago with no device to deflect root growth. This is now causing significant disturbance to some footways. Some of this serious root damage to pavements cannot be overcome by root pruning or re-engineering the pavements.

The felling of trees will also reduce the potential for pedestrian trips and falls due to surface damage in footways.

The removal will include some existing trees which are unhealthy or which pose potential root damage to pavements, ground infrastructure and buildings. 

What about the wildlife? How's that being cared for?

While the upgrade is taking place we have an ecologist carrying out regular tree inspections to make sure nesting birds are not disturbed.

Contractors will not remove trees with active nests - and care will be taken before each is felled to double check the position.

What does local business think?

The tree planting programme is being supported by business organisation Swansea BID whose chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "We believe that a greener and more attractive city centre can only have long-term benefits in terms of attracting higher volumes of people in to the city centre and making it a more appealing place to visit for shoppers and visitors. We are pleased to see the council committing to a long-term vision to improve the city centre through the planting of almost 170 new trees and the on-going regeneration work taking place throughout the city."

Swansea Council leader Rob Stewart said: "We want to transform the city centre into a vibrant and bustling centre for business and leisure. The investment we are making is to ensure the new Kingsway is of a high quality to match the new city centre we are building.

"We need to create the right environment to attract investment by redeveloping the Kingsway area."

What do those with disabilities think?

The tree planting programme is being supported by Guide Dogs Cymru officer and chair of Visually Impaired West Glamorgan chair, Andrea Gordon. 

She said that pavement trees where protruding roots were breaking up footpaths - root heaving - is a real problem for disabled and visually-impaired people, especially the elderly. 

She said the council's plan to plant trees in special tree pits where roots could extend without causing problems for pedestrians was welcome. 

She said: "Visually-impaired people, especially older people, will often be unsteady on their feet and may not see the tree roots. It can be very disruptive and disconcerting for them because they can't see them easily but they know there is a trip risk. To people who may not understand the trip hazards, we would say, actually, root heaving is a real problem for people who are visually-impaired."

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