Fylde Council has said that they wish to provide clarification on the status and goals of the Lytham Clifton Street Public Realm Project, particularly regarding the proposed replacement of the trees which contribute so much to the character of the street and indeed Lytham as a whole.
The Council say:
‘As Lytham residents may be aware, the existing trees along Clifton Street are London planes, planted to replace elms which regrettably had to be felled in the late 1980s due to the prevalence of Dutch Elm Disease. While the London planes swiftly prospered to make a significant visual contribution to the street, their broad-leafed nature and large root systems have also created a series of problems.
These problems include:
- A rapid rate of outward foliage growth which results in continual requests for pruning
- Excessive shading to forecourts and within premises
- Overhang into the carriageway, creating a problem for larger vehicles including buses
- Root systems causing pavement ‘heave’, dislodging parts of footways and forecourts
- Clutter and uncoordinated ‘design’ solutions around the base of trees to prevent potential trips and falls
It is important to stress that the intended solutions do not include the removal of trees altogether, but rather the replacement of the London planes with suitable coastal species, with constrained roots and upwardly oriented growth. The existing trees are too large for the street, and any work to address trip hazards while retaining the current trees would only be a temporary solution as the trees and their root systems continued to grow. The proposals would also make good the pavement heaving and introduce a consistent lighting system, helping make Clifton Street a safer and more visually appealing environment.
The proposed scheme is not ready for public consultation, as first conversations must take place with those private landowners who own forecourts on which some trees are located and which would be affected by resurfacing improvements. This can be a lengthy process and a final design cannot be produced until these permissions are secured; as such, a project delivery time frame cannot yet be accurately provided.
Once these permissions are secured and the scheme is confirmed to be viable with regards to local landowners, a public consultation will allow residents to view the working plans and make their voices heard. Fylde Council are committed to considering all opinions submitted as part of the consultation process, and no final design can be approved until this process has reached its conclusion.
We reiterate that we understand the importance of verdant tree cover to Lytham, and by no means intend to take away this integral part of its character. It is our proposal instead to replace the existing trees with more suitable species that will more fully complement, rather than compromise, the ability of residents and visitors to enjoy the public realm spaces.’