Wellingtonia Avenue has over the years lost its “avenue” aspect and appearance through the domination of invasive scrub and weed growth. This included a number of Sycamore and Oak trees, none of which had been subject to thinning of numbers or formative pruning. These and the invasive and pernicious species such as bramble, Rhododendron and Holly progressively congested the entire length of the avenue. Many of the peripheral trees and shrubs were impacting on health and safety of pedestrians and footpaths, light restriction [residents resorting to having lights on during the day] and physical nuisance to roof lines and flank walls of dwellings. This ongoing situation was not sustainable or maintainable so the necessary works to return the avenue to its original intention and condition commenced.
With regards to the wildlife of Wellingtonia Avenue, the contractors have been issued with very specific due diligence procedures that they have been following for the duration of the works. These refer to all wild and domestic life within the area. These, coupled with the unusual activity and noise created by the works has encouraged wildlife to move out of the area whilst the works are completed. In terms of habitat, we have identified in conjunction with Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue, two specific refuge areas for any remaining or returning wildlife. These refuges will be retained until the end of the hibernation period next year. We are creating natural wildlife sanctuaries and havens along the walkway to help retain the insect and wildlife. In the spring when the seeds in the understorey (that have remained dormant for many years under the shroud of the former canopy) will burst into life creating new environments and habitats for a variety of insects and wildlife that the area could not sustain previously.
Whilst we have received some concerns and objections to the works, the majority of local residents have welcomed the project and the regeneration of the avenue to its former glory. We have also been made aware that some residents would have welcomed some direct consultation about these proposals. We have taken this feedback on board and will pre-empt future works like this in a more timely manner, allowing us the time to consult with residents as necessary.
Over the last few months we have been systematically carrying out a significant number of tree safety surveys across the Borough following through with any necessary works that have been identified. So whilst previously to complete works had been cost prohibitive, in this instance we already had a team of workers and the necessary equipment available to us so we could viably undertake the works in the most cost effective manner. In completion of the work, it allows for cost effective ongoing maintenance arrangements that will include a twice yearly flail cutting of the open areas and seeding of the understorey of wild flower and grass mixes.
On conclusion of the works, we will be replacing several of the Wellingtonias that have been lost over the years to preserve and protect the continuity of the avenue. We will also install wooden and lockable bollards at the end of the walkway from Cumberland Road to ensure the integrity of the walkway for pedestrians and not vehicles. There are two further areas off Copelands Close where we will also be installing wooden blocks to secure and protect access onto the walkway. The longer term benefits of these works will see the area preserved and maintained to its original vista and intention of creating a magnificent Wellingtonia walkway that is open and safe for its visitors.