To follow up its autumn 2015 conference, Establishing and Retaining Quality Trees in the Urban Landscape, the ICF East England regional group headed to the west of the region to visit two completely different sites which brought many of the issues discussed at the conference into a very practical context.
First up was Nene Park on the edge of Peterborough. Matthew Bradbury (CEO), Clare Freeman (Head of Landscape) and Andrew MacDermott MICFor (Deputy Head Ranger) explained the origins, aims and management of the 700 hectare park. The Park is now a well-established resource, highly valued by the residents of Peterborough and beyond. A new Masterplan will inform future management up to 2026. The visit concluded with a walking tour around part of the Park to see the rich and diverse landscapes that provide a backdrop to the adjacent built developments.
The Group then travelled across to Alconbury Vale for the afternoon where Rebecca Britton (Communications, Communities and Partnerships) outlined the plans for the redevelopment of this former wartime airfield. This bleak site is set to be transformed on a vast scale over the next 20 to 25 years. In somewhat damp and blustery conditions, which reinforced the need for and the value of greenspace planned, the visit concluded with a bus tour round the former airfield to see some of the site’s challenges and opportunities.
The contrast between the two sites could not have been greater – stark and exposed (Alconbury), lush and vibrant (Nene Park). But in their own way, both made a very persuasive case for an integrated approach to creating and managing high quality greenspace in an urban setting.
Copies of the speakers’ presentations are available to download here:
Report by Mark Pritchard FICFor, East England Regional Group Secretary.