Replanting the Grange Park Embankment restarts in March 2014
Following on from the recent damning review of the GrangeParkembankment by The Tree Council (which you can read about here), a second meeting was held on January 16th, with a senior team from Network Rail (Dr Neil Strong and Paul Rutter, Area Director, South Network Operations, London North Eastern & East Midlands Route) and The Tree Council. Chaired by David Burrowes MP, it was an opportunity for a group of local residents who have been campaigning for further planting to hear what Network Rail are now proposing.
The Tree Council have been asked by Network Rail to work on planting recommendations with the objective of helping to restore the Grange Park embankments to a green oasis that supports wildlife, dissipates noise and draws the eye of line side neighbours away from the raised track. They are to make detailed maintenance recommendations, to sustain and improve the restoration of the site, although it will be several years before growth can begin to catch up with what has been lost. The proposals will be delivered in February 2014 and include guidance on any necessary replanting so that it can be completed before the end of March, ahead of the growing season. Here is a summary of what was agreed at the meeting.
* TheTree Counci lwill make recommendations for a proper maintenance regime and replanting plan that will fill in the gaps where losses have occurred and, where appropriate, make the planting more 'natural'. The young hedge plants have the appearance of regimented rows, although The Tree Council explained to participants at the meeting that the rows of planting were the most effective way of attaining the sort of visual screen that they sought and, if managed in the recommended way, some of the plant stock will be allowed to sucker and irregular edges will naturally occur. Participants heard that hedgerows grown and managed in this way were more accurately described as "linear woods", and that they will thicken out in time.
* Plant material recommended as replacements for stock that has died would be selected from indigenous species, with attention to the ecological value for wildlife and visual amenity.
* Network Rail will check the plant numbers and with the contractor review the reasons for some of the proposed planting areas not being delivered especially where they were originally promised along the boundaries, to the east and west of the site.as specified in Autumn 2011 as well as finding out more about the planting practice and the terms of the maintenance contract to compare with the action that has taken place on site.
* The Tree Council's remit is to deliver recommendations for a maintenance plan and proposals for replacing all dead and ailing plants and also further replanting of trees and to make suggestions for more naturalistic planting of replacements to achieve a less formalised look, faster than would otherwise happen.
* Planting must be completed by the end of March and will be maintained throughout the growing season (watering and weed clearance), continuing to 2019.
* Annual reviews to monitor regrowth and replace any failed plants, with further consultation with local residents.
* The progress will be monitored by TheTree Council, as an independent expert third party, until 2019 or for longer if there are still ongoing issues.
*The Tree Council has a national volunteer scheme, Tree Wardens, who are the eyes and ears of the organisation and who monitor local issues and who encourage tree planting, care and conservation in their local community. It is possible that Grange park neighbours may be able to form a local network of this national scheme to keep an eye on the site during the growing period so that Network Rail can respond quickly further plants are lost. This will be discussed further before getting in touch with TheTree Councilagain to discuss the practicalities.
There will be further maintenance work between Palmers Green and Enfield Chase shortly to remove "dead, dying or diseased trees". Around 25 trees between Palmers Green and Enfield Chase stations have been identified as requiring major pruning or removal. Lineside neighbours will be informed shortly.
A positive outcome? Hopefully yes, but this has come about through the persistence of a dozen or so local residents, not our elected representatives (bar David B), nor our residents association.
We heard Paul Rutter, a Network Rail area director promise never to "do another Grange Park"again. It seems that we have gained a place in Network Rail venacular.
The Tree Council are drawing up a new planting schedule to help restore the Grange Park embankments.