Regeneration

Trees will be planted on Byres Road under £9m upgrade, but don’t expect an avenue

By Ian Marland at

More trees will be planted on Byres Road as part of a £9m scheme to improve the street.

The desire for greenery was one of the top items requested by the public at a consultation event in February.

But it is unlikely trees will appear in any great number.

Byres Road improvements

Shade: trees are a feature of the new public spaces by the River Clyde in the city

And planners say there is no prospect of an avenue of leaves as some people had wished.

The problem lies with the lack of space above and below the surface.

A team of town planners is currently leading a public consultation exercise.

A display has been touring local libraries in recent weeks.

Byres Road improvements

Display: an exhibition highlighting public views on Byres Road has been touring local libraries

An entry on the team’s Facebook page sets out thinking on the trees.

It reads: “One of the top items requested at the launch event on 23 February was the desire for more trees in the street.

“Trees soften the appearance of a street and are undoubtedly attractive features which can contribute to air quality and provide other benefits such as producing nectar, fruit, seeds and homes for birds and pollinators.

“Yet they are relatively rare features of the Scottish high street, especially in recent years.”

Byres Road improvements

Listening: Members of the public at the workshop meeting in Partick.

The post adds: “The difficulty of carrying out extensive new tree planting in Byres Road comes down to the extent of underground services such as water, gas and electricity mains, telecoms ducting and cable television infrastructure.

“Also, new trees will compete for space for other requests such as cycle lanes and parking spaces.

“All of the pipes, ducts and cables that have accumulated over the years have created an underground web of services that leave little or no room for tree planting.

“Trees require deep and wide pits if they are to survive and mature.

“Finding space for these pits without disturbing services will be very tricky.”

Byres Road improvements

Cracks: Many of the comments pleaded for better pavements.

The team say moving and diverting services would be costly but not impossible.

The issue was the same on the recent improvements at nearby Vinicombe Street.

The presence of a substation ruled out any tree planting there.

A small number of trees currently brighten up one corner of the street at Ashton Road car park.

The team say: “We are looking carefully at the services information for the whole of Byres Road to see if there are practical opportunities for tree planting.

“It may be that there are specific locations where trees are possibilities, but it is very unlikely that there be uniform boulevard style tree planting along the entire length of the street.

“So, the answer to the question, ‘Can we have more trees, please?’ is: yes you can, but they will probably come in limited numbers and locations, together with a high price attached to them.

Byres Road improvements

Existing: Byres Road already has a small number of trees at Ashton Road car

“This could mean that there will need to be a balance between more trees and other elements of the design.”

Money for the improvement scheme is coming from a huge pot of City Deal cash.

No plans have been finalised as public consultation continues.

Works are not expected to start until next year.

* For more information on the improvement scheme visit https://www.facebook.com/byresroadcorners/