Armada Way Survey Guidance

The consultation closes at 5 pm on Tuesday the 28th of November so make sure if you plan to complete and submit the survey you do so before then. We know it’s tempting not to bother, they don’t have a great track record of listening but if you don’t tell them what you think, how will they know!? Please take the time to do it if you can/want to.

We have had a look through the survey and made some notes on the questions below.

If you have already submitted your consultation survey but would like to redo it you can. Just make sure you use the same email address and they will accept your second submission.

Here is a link to the proposed design

Here is a link to the online survey

We do not want to put words in your mouth. Of course, our preference would be that you tell ECF (the consultation company) how you feel about the scheme in your own words. We know, however, that surveys can be confusing so we wanted to let you know our thoughts on it in case it helps more people feel that they can engage.

There is a lot to take in here, I’m sorry about that. We have restricted our comments to questions we think are relevant to the STRAW campaign.

Be aware that the numbers on the questions on the online version are different from the paper copy.

Please share a link to this page with anyone you think might find this helpful or interesting.

Let’s Talk Consultation Survey Guidance
Question 5 (online)/Question 4 (paper version)

Unless you are genuinely responding on behalf of a group or organisation, please tick “Myself, as an individual” for this question. Please note: If you are responding on behalf of a group or organisation and tick the box to indicate as such, the numbers will be different to the ones we have stated below.

Nature and Greenery
(paper version page 3/online version page 4)

Much too much information on this page, it’s very overwhelming and it feels like a hard sell. The details on the height of the proposed trees give a false impression. It states that all new trees will be 3.5m to 8m tall. In reality, of the 165 (we think) new trees proposed, one tree is stated to be 7m+, and the rest are not guaranteed to be as tall. We are also told that Plymouth City Council (PCC) plan to plant 147 trees (what we believe to be a Miyawaki forest) on the grass outside the Crown Plaza on the Hoe. This would be in the Conservation Area and this area is on the Historic England list of registered Parks and Gardens. Is planting a large, dense mass of trees here appropriate for the Hoe? Is this ‘Right tree, right place’? How long until they chop it all down because of ‘anti-social behaviour’? Who will maintain it? This plan has not been approved and might well never happen. This information is a completely irrelevant distraction from the point of the survey, in essence, greenwashing. I’m genuinely surprised ECF let PCC get away with including this in the survey.

Question 9 (online)/ Question 8 (on paper)

Despite the form suggesting you need to leave 2 answers, you can leave 1 or skip this section.

One box you can tick is ‘That as many existing trees as possible will remain where they are’. But what is their definition of ‘possible’? It could be literal. Obviously, they could all be left there, if the site is left as it is forever, although this clearly is not a practical option. It could mean, as many as possible within this particular design. We are told that 6 must be removed to achieve this design and for the scheme to be possible. If you are happy with trees being potentially removed to achieve this design, then tick this one. If you aren’t then you could tick it and make sure you clarify it in ‘Other’.

One problem is of course, as demonstrated with the February consultation, comments don’t end up in graphs. The report from February distilled all your comments about retaining more trees into 1 sentence with no mention of how many people had mentioned it. A recent FOI request tells us that PCC didn’t even bother to count how many people expressed a desire for more trees to be kept! Remarkable.

Remember, for this question, they want to know what is important to you with regards to Armada Way being a ‘sustainable urban environment’, so try and keep it relevant. There is room for comments on other things later. The online version in ‘Other’ allows you room for about 200 words. On paper you have space for 1 short sentence! Do you think they really want to know what you think here!?

Other ideas for ‘Other’:

  • As above, clarification on numbers you’d like to be kept.
  • Maybe you think the mature trees should have preference over design elements?
  • Maybe TPOs on all trees to protect them in the future?
  • Maybe you would prefer tree varieties which will grow larger to support more wildlife and sequester more carbon?

Question 10 (online)/ Question 9 (on paper)

This is asking for your comments on the proposed translocation of 6 trees. Where do we start!?

We have repeatedly requested the detailed Sustainable Urban Drainage (SuDs) plan since they claim that some of the trees must be removed because of the new SuDs system, but we have not received it. It is unknown whether this is because PCC are refusing to share it or that it just doesn’t exist. If it exists, why won’t they share it? If they haven’t done it yet, how can they state that the trees are in the way of the SuDs scheme? Other reasons cited are that the trees are in the way of the path and that the areas they are in require levelling.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the purpose of a consultation is to take comments on board so that the thing being consulted on can be modified to reflect the comments. Or at least that’s the theory. It appears from the information provided that the reasons for removing the trees are largely design elements which could be modified. If you haven’t yet, please take a look at our Every Tree Matters page on our website.

If you believe that the design ought to be modified to incorporate all or some of the 6 trees earmarked for translocation, then make sure you tell them here.

Out of sight, out of mind?

In January PCC ruled out translocating any trees at all because of the expense and the very high risk of them not surviving. Former Councillor Drean stated in a full council meeting “All advice I have received, including from tree experts, the city council’s own Natural Infrastructure team and the Woodland Trust was that it was not advisable, they will die”.

PCC announced around the same time, “Some 25 existing trees were identified as potentially possible for translocation, but this is now not being taken forward as it is not regarded as good arboriculture practice and the relocated trees are unlikely to survive the move”.

The condition of the trees has not been cited as reason to remove any of the 6 trees and presumably PCC must consider them to be in good condition, otherwise why would they suggest translocating them rather than felling them?

Translocation is very expensive. Do you think, considering the very low chances of survival,  this is a good use of public money?

Do you think PCC will provide the years of aftercare required for a successful translocation?

Do you think it’s appropriate to move mature trees from the city centre, which has embarrassingly low canopy cover (less than 5%) to an area with around 30% cover? We don’t need to wait for these trees to mature and offer the benefits we won’t get from young trees for decades, they are mature now.

Question 11 (online/Question 10 (paper version)

Any other comments? Are you happy with the proposed tree choices? Very few of the proposed trees will grow to be significant in size, only 2 will get to be around 18m when fully grown. Remember we were proposed Plymouth’s version of Las Ramblas, a long slightly wiggly pedestrianised street with very tall mature trees such as London Planes which grow to around 30m tall! This design will be nothing like Las Ramblas. Armada Way is a very wide area. Do you think it could support trees which grow taller and with wider canopies? Some suitable species could be, as well as London Plane, Lime, Sycamore, Tulip trees or Handkerchief trees.

Perhaps have a look at Plymouth Tree People’s response to the proposed scheme.

The proposed design has only 20% ‘green coverage’ – whatever that means. Sound like enough? It is slightly less than on the previous design. Green spaces are important for people to escape the hustle and bustle and they are good for our mental health. The design remains heavily characterised by the wide expanses of unshaded paved surfaces. Armada Way was, until recently, considered a Green Corridor by PCC. Should the proposal prioritise maximising tree canopy cover and "greening up" this public space?

Do you have any thoughts on the planting other than the trees? We have been given little/no information on this. What would you like to see?

Seating
Question 21 (online)/ Question 20 (paper version)

Are you reassured that enough seating will be in shaded areas?

Cycling and Mobility Hub
Question 23 (online)/ Question 22 (paper version)

Plymouth Cycling Campaign has put out a statement on the proposed design which you can find here.

General

Here you are asked for ideas and concerns.

Include anything you think has not been covered so far.

Are you concerned about maintenance?

Are you concerned that the SuDs scheme is experimental? What if the experiment fails?

Are you happy with the fact that the council leader made repeated promises to retain all the trees, even using it as an election pledge, but they are not planning on retaining them all?

In the consultation material we are told that the report of the consultation will be complete by Dec 19th then in early 2024 the council will publish the new design. It took the council 4 months to finalise the design prior to the consultation. Do you believe they have genuinely given themselves enough time to modify the design based on the findings of the consultation? We all want it done in good time but we also all really want it to be right. Are you convinced they will listen to people based on this timeline?

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