Why are most of our protected trees in the south of the city? Plus: Gary Neville on foreign investment, and our weekly to do list
The trees in St Peter's Square are 'Princess' or 'Empress' trees (Paulownia tomentosa) which are native to central and western China. I believe they were planted in 2014/2015. I initially thought that TPOs might have been applied to protect native species, but sycamore and horse chestnuts hail from elsewhere in Europe so perhaps not.
I write as a town planner (who worked for Manchester back in the 1980s), and east Manchester resident. When it comes to this kind of thing (TPOs, enforcement against planning breaches, making sure planning conditions are observed) the city planning service is essentially responsive - they only act in response to complaints. This isn’t due to recent cuts, it has always been like that.
The result is that actions such as TPO designations are only done in areas where people know how to work the system - putting places like Didsbury, with its concentration of professionals and graduates, at an advantage. It is discriminatory against working class areas; and, since these areas include parts of the city where minority ethnic people are prevalent, it is arguably institutionally racist. The generally poor calibre of Labour councillors doesn’t help.
Since very few white collar city council employees are so committed to the city that they will condescend to live in it, it is hard to see how this can improve, when for most of them, inner city areas are places they commute through. I can point to a major environmental nuisance by our estate, where years of resident and councillor complaints have not overcome officer resistance to taking effective action. (There is a TPO on our street in Beswick though - thanks entirely to there being a retired planner living there…)
Hi. As a town planner can I help by clarifying Jane’s comment. She is correct trees over certain size are protected in any conservation area. This means most city centre trees are protected as large parts are CA. You can still find TPOs in a CA but it is less common. That said - shocking imbalance north to south, I expect it will correlate with many other indices of deprivation.
I’ll see if I can find out.
Re The trees in West Didsbury.
Many of these will be in the Blackburn Park Conservation Area where all trees over certain dimensions are protected. The Conservation Area was initiated by local residents. There may well be other areas where this applies but local residents need to get these balls rolling and keep them rolling as well.
Please would you join me in requesting the council put Tree Preservation Orders on the University of Manchester North Campus' beautiful trees (and encourage your friends and social media followers to do the same):-
Only those north of the viaduct currently have any protection, as they fall within the Whitworth Street Conservation Area and the whole areas is threatened with redevelopment (https://www.id-manchester.com/)
Thank you very much
Where did this fantastic tree data come from? Is it on the council website somewhere?