AWA Tree Consultants recently helped with a tree survey for planning in Sheffield with approval of two major developments: Expansion of Sheffield Business Park (SBP) and Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP). The sites form one of the largest business parks in Yorkshire, that forms part of the wider 740-acre scheme within the Sheffield City Region.
Council planners had initially been concerned regarding possible large scale clearance of trees. However, after our tree survey we identified suitable management to open up selective views into the new development and still retain a green corridor along the road frontage. Accordingly, no objections were raised from the planners and it was noted that the sites arboricultural features will be enhanced by the proposals we applied for as part of the planning application.
The tree survey for planning was in relation to development of land between Sheffield and Rotherham, at the centre of Sheffield City Region’s recently launched Global Innovation Corridor, with excellent transport links to Sheffield City Centre as well as nearby Doncaster Sheffield Airport.
The vision of the site emerged from the decline that South Yorkshire had suffered in its traditional industries of coal and steel over the last twenty years. Despite this decline, the region had retained established skills and expertise in the areas of advanced manufacturing, backed by materials research expertise within the two Sheffield universities, and other independent research organisations. The development is home to some of the World’s biggest manufacturers including Rolls Royce, Boeing and McLaren Automotive.
The developments create a natural gateway between Rotherham and Sheffield and drive forward the vision of supporting the prosperity of the region’s economy and positioning South Yorkshire as leading the way in Advanced Manufacturing.
Before we were involved with the project the Council Landscape and Arboriculture team had raised concerns regarding the developments proposals, which indicated large scale clearance of trees and structure planting along Sheffield Parkway. However, following our BS5837 tree survey for planning and development, and detailed arboricultural advice, the submission of amended plans and additional tree information provided mitigation and suitable enhancement to alleviate these concerns from the planners. Accordingly, no objections were raised by the planning authority in relation to the site’s trees.
Where possible the existing trees were retained and elsewhere retained following focused management operations to achieve clear views from the Sheffield Parkway Frontage. Where tree and shrub vegetation were to be removed then replacement planting is proposed elsewhere on site.
The site’s tree cover was a mix of recently established planted trees and recent roadside natural regeneration. Collectively the trees provide landscape value and are in keeping with the surrounding landscape character. However, we identified that due to the relatively young age of the trees, no individual tree should form a significant constraint to the new development.
None of the tree or shrub groups had undergone any management since establishment, and as such we identified and scheduled suitable thinning management with the aim of improving the long term prospects of the retained trees, open up selective views into the new development and still retain a green corridor along the road frontage.
The site development guidelines as set out in the Sites and Policies DPD state ‘An attractive landscape setting with appropriate planting and incorporating the bridleway shall be provided along the boundary to the A630 Parkway. Vegetation along the southern boundary to the railway line shall be retained unless agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority.’
To address this requirement a strategic landscape masterplan and supplementary detailed tree survey information were provided which informed the vision for future detailed landscape proposals.
These have been amended during the application process to reflect comments received from the Council’s landscape design team. Additionally, the application is supported by a full Arboricultural Report and Impact Assessment which assesses the impact of the removal of trees and vegetation in the area. The revised proposals show three distinct landscape character structure areas around the land which include the following:
Retained and Improved Woodland: This area retains the existing high value mature woodland area adjacent to the Parkway slip road and proposed units 10-12. This area of the application site will be retained as a woodland area which will have an enhanced pedestrian route through it. The woodland group to be retained will be enhanced through continued management.
Structure Landscaping creating Key Views: This area is referred relates to the remainder of the Sheffield Parkway boundary. Prominent tall individual trees will be retained with their crowns raised to 3m high to ensure views through to the AMP. New tree planting is proposed to form parkland groups. Understorey species are proposed to be selectively removed and the species retained to be cut to 1m in height to form a shrub layer. Further understorey shrub layer planting is proposed to form structure to the proposed planting and to frame the views into the AMP site. The shrub layer together with species rich grassland will help form a ‘parkland setting’, whilst a ribbon of mown amenity grass along the development edge will help merge the ornamental plot planting into the boundary structure planting.
New Semi Woodland Cycle path: This area located along the southern boundary, adjacent to the railway line. The existing railway woodland and screening are proposed to be retained and further new woodland group planting is proposed to mitigate the tree removal along the Parkway. The new tree planting will form a new woodland cycle route and will provide pedestrian access into the development plots.
The councils Trees and Woodland Manager assessed the content of our tree survey for planning with Arboricultural Impact Assessment, in line with the submitted landscape plans, and raised no objections to the removal of selected trees and vegetation along the Sheffield Parkway frontage. Our BS5837 tree report was appraised by the Councils consultant arboriculturist who confirmed that although areas of low value trees and scrub are to be removed, the proposal does not require the removal of any high value trees. Existing trees are to be pruned and brought under management, and a large number of additional new trees are to be planted throughout the site.
The key arboricultural features on the site are the roadside groups along Sheffield Parkway to the North, and the groups of trees adjacent to the railway tracks to the West. Both features will be enhanced by the landscape proposals submitted and applied for as part of this application, and this will more than compensate for tree removals elsewhere on the site.
Accordingly, no objections were raised to the removal and pruning of the identified trees and we subsequently provided a detailed Arboricultural Method Statement and Tree Protection Plan to meet conditions requiring that the retained trees were suitably protected during the development.