For the past two weeks we have featured a potential tree guard on the blog and in the community notice board at Langham Parade. It has been designed by a small independent company called Working Detail. The tree guard will be made of steel and painted a matt black. We have had to spend a great deal of time sourcing a product that fits within Haringey Council’s strict requirements:
– Very open and visually permeable design
– An interesting and ‘clean’ design
– Strong & designed for use in spaces w/ significant traffic volumes (inc. on street use)
– Easy to maintain and repair (w/ easily replaceable parts)
– Not susceptible to use as a rubbish can and easily accessible for street sweeping
– Meets certain design and fitting specifications
– Fits within the budget
I had hoped to source an alternative design and provide the community with a choice. However, due to the unusual nature of the neighbourhood design (trees planted in the carriageway), and after considerable work, this does not look as though it will be possible. Therefore, we will be moving forward with the original tree guard for the neighbourhood. We have had positive feedback to the design along with three comments from two concerned residents (see earlier blog posting).
On Wednesday afternoon, I had an interesting conversation with a resident who suggested that perhaps the guard could be used to protect those trees sitting in the carriageway (raised table junctions, Langham Parade, and breakpoints) while using the regular temporary wooden stake and mesh (currently used at various locations in the neighbourhood) for those on the pavements/’off-road’. Due to the size of trees (16-20cm girth) being planted the stake and mesh would then be removed after the first year of growth. All trees will then have a further year of intensive maintenance. The benefits of this approach would mean that pedestrian space is not be taken up by the guard, the new ‘off-road’ trees would then match all the other trees planted in the last couple of years, and it would produce a ‘softer/natural’ aesthetic to areas like the junction of Stanmore and Waldeck (Wishbone).
Following on from that chat, I had a quick conversation with the council’s tree officer and he said that metal tree guards are not necessary when planting semi-mature (16-20cm girth) trees in ‘off-road’ locations. He also said that tree damage due to vandalism is not an issue in the area. For those trees located ‘on-road’ we require a guard with a significant footprint to ensure it provides protection and presence; however – as highlighted by another resident I spoke with – this larger footprint is not necessarily so appropriate for use on pavements/’off-road’ etc. There would clearly also be a cost saving in this approach, which would benefit the project as whole in ensuring the final costings come in at budget. It might also allow for some additional tree planting on Graham and Carlingford Roads.
Therefore, after consulting with the council and our designers I would like to propose that we move ahead with the tree guard design in all ‘on-road’ locations (raised table junctions, Langham Parade, and breakpoints) and then the temporary wooden stake and mesh on all trees located ‘off-road’ (Stanmore/Waldeck, Mannock/Downhills, outside Belmont Rec). However, if you feel strongly that we need tree guards across all locations (both on and off road) then please let me know as soon as possible.
This is a challenging process and a satisfactory compromise needs to be reached as soon as possible. As I am sure you appreciate, I have worked hard to balance the needs of the community along with the Council’s safety and maintenance requirements. I think the proposal put forward above provides just such a compromise.