Saturday, 12 February 2011

Wickham Glen fiasco?

We have been getting reports that the works to construct a cyclists' ramp in Wickham Glen are damaging the area and we have been to have a close look too.

Work of this kind is always messy, but these before and after photos do show the serious impact that the works are having on the Glen.

Mark Logan, our Vice Chair, has been to take a close look so that he can compare the work being done with the precautions that were meant to happen to make sure the construction of the ramp has the least impact possible. Here's what he reports:

* At the entrance to the Glen a section of wall has been removed (at no point was this ever mentioned) thus destroying part of the historic fabric of the Glen.
* At the compound outside the Glen, soils have been stripped and just dumped behind the wall and into the woodland edge.
* As you go into the Glen a large pile a tree trunks etc has been dumped next to the river bank.
* There has been excessive movement of plant across the Glen that has occurred after the access track has been constructed. This can be clearly seen by the tracks going across the grass and then onto the track chewing up the geotextile separator.
* Just before you get to the ramp roots and debris has been dumped into the edge of the brambles.
* When you eventually get to the woodland and ramp area things are not being done in accordance with the arboricultural development statement. It categorically excludes the use of herras fencing with rubber feet and also states a wooden kick board should be used at its base.
* The Group 2 trees are supposed to be fenced and this has not been done.

We have constantly expressed our concerns over the potential damage to the Glen during construction and we were assured that the Glen would not be damaged. Of course Wickham Glen can recover from a lot of the damage, although it probably will never have the same special feel that it had before. But even so, how long will that recovery take if the work is not being done with enough care and attention?

We will be meeting the Council next week to discuss the situation.


between-the-lines said...

So. It looks like Anonymous was right about this slimy cycling city project.

Andrew Hill said...

Hopefully the Glen will not look like a building site forever. Looking at pictures of the Glen from last summer it is obvious what has already been lost. I would be devastated if I lived next to the Glen and had to see this beautiful natural spot turned into a ugly urban cycle track. My heart goes out to those that live on Hedgemead View who were not consulted about the Cycle path and now have a totally different view from their gardens. I guess things will grow back and nature will begin to reclaim some of the area, but it will never be the same down there.

sued said...

This does seem as if Cycle City will force through its agenda at any price. It's all very well to listen to what local people say and appear to be reasonable and take all comments on board, but the proof of the pudding and all that...It is a mess, and although it will certainly look a lot better once the replanting is done and starts to grow, it seems wholly unnecessary to be quite so heavy handed and destructive during the process of construction. No wonder people are so cynical about the council's promises...

andy-s said...

I sympathise, having had to endure the destruction of Grove Wood opposite my street. It's over 3 years since that happened and it's nowhere near to looking how it did before and won't be for at least 10-20 years and that depends on there being no more uprooting of saplings. I suspect the same will apply to Wickham Glen, with the added 'attraction' of speeding cycles of the pedal and, no doubt, motorised varieties!

Anonymous said...

It really is a disgrace what has happened to our beautiful Wickham Glen.

One of the last places in Bristol where you could really feel like you were in the countryside.

Andrew Hill said...

I have been reading Fisher,Freke and Angerson's book BYGONE BRISTOL:Frenchay and Stapleton.

There is a lovely old photograph of Wickham Glen and Wickham Court taken from Colston Hill. Underneath the photograph it says 'A Delightful View little changed today'.I think the authors need to visit Wickham Glen to see how much it has changed recently.

The Path through the field has already changed the character of a beauty spot. This part of the Glen was the last place in the area to be unspoilt by tarmac and building work. I used to take my dog Ollie there when I was a student in the early 90's. He could play safely and I could quitely revise for exams in a tranquil spot.I always found the Eastville stretch far to busy. No doubt the Glen will now be less appealing for those who want to get away from the Hustle and Bustle of the busier spots like Snuff Mills and Eastville Park. It's a dreadful Shame to lose something so unique.

Martyn said...

I am extremely concerned about the tree works. Will the stumps be left in the ground as a depressing reminder of the loss of mature habitat, as per the Councils reputation for dealing with street trees?

I feel very sorry for the people of Frome Terrace, all the immediate neighbours and indeed all citizens of Bristol as these works have destroyed some important local history. Let's see if this shared use path (a cycle ramp in disguise) is really worth the impact on the environment and wildlife, let alone the financial cost.

Many local cyclists, including myself, completely disagree with this scheme when Cycling City should be more focused upon creating better routes through the city. If you have ever tried cycling through the city centre you will be aware of the nightmare it is! There are so many pinch points that force cyclists and pedestrians together into potentially dangerous or comfrontational situations.

markL said...

tree stumps will be left and cut down to ground level and are required to be poisoned to stop regrowth - removal of some would probably mean ripping up the footpath of blackberry hill or damaging the roots of other trees not felled.
We are where we are we just have to make sure that they do what they promised and dont detroy anything else.
I think the site visit will focus their minds and hopefully the work will finish soon and planting begin.

stevem said...

About 12 people from Snuff Mills Action Group and the local community as well as Councillors Lesley Alexander and Steve Comer met with Nick Pates of the Cycling City Team today to discuss the situation in the Glen.

We had a productive and useful meeting and received lots of reassurances that some of the problems that there have been during the construction phase of the cycle path would be rectified and that the Council would work hard to ensure the Glen recovered quickly from the development.

We have asked for reassurances in writing on a number of issues including:

* The restoration of the wall
* Ensuring the contractors do not continue to compact the grassland by driving off the path
* Ensuring the grassland is restored and any compaction rectified
* Planting on either side of the ramp to allow rapid recovery of the site
* Species mix of planting on the either side of the ramp to ensure the restoration of a screen for the residents of Hedgemead - we talked about underplanting with hazel etc, and I have been thinking about native evergreens like yew and holly to increase screening too
* Fencing of allotment boundary

We will be watching the activities in the Glen closely as this project continues.

Mogz said...

Also mentioned and noted by Mr Pates was a requirement to fence in the bank sides until the replanting has taken to such a degree that off road cyclists won't be encouraged to use the bank as a direct slope to the river. As it stands it looks mighty inviting!