Many of you will have noticed the works that have been taking place on the Milton Road roundabout in the past week. There is - unsurprisingly - some considerable disquiet locally about the removal of the mature trees and shrubs that have stood on the roundabout for many years, particularly since there was no mention of their removal in the regular bulletins that have been issued, even in the one last week. We are very disappointed at the lack of clarity on this matter, and sympathetic to those who have made their feelings known. We will continue to press for more information and a rationale behind the landscape design which you can see illustrated above. In the meantime we thought it would be useful to let you know the timeline of activity as some of the claims made by the GCP appear to us to be misleading.
Approximately 50 stakeholders – residents and representatives of HPERA included – attended a GCP Landscaping Workshop. Four concept designs - pictured below - were presented by consultants WSP. Options 1 and 4 were the most popular among the participants.
WSP Preliminary Landscape Design published – see below.
Redgate Software, sponsors of the roundabout, had offered to commission their own design and maintain it at their cost. They produced the visualisation below and sent out an online questionnaire, which seemed to many of us to be skewed to produce a desired result. The results of this survey were never published, and there was no follow-up with any detailed drawings.
A Milton RoadLocal Liaison Forum meeting conducted over Zoom included a screenshot of a landscape sketch but the details were obscure and during the meeting, Michael Page asked for the drawings to be put online. It was not made clear to us that this was based on the Redgate design and the drawing was not put online. Prior to this we had already been made aware that the central island would have to be reduced in diameter to accommodate the required traffic flow.
This did not amount to a consultation and it was not possible for stakeholders to engage with this because the design was not made publicly available.
A Highworth Avenue resident contacted us expressing concern about the lack of information on the landscape design. We tried but failed to get a complete answer from a GCP Joint Assembly meeting a few days later – there appeared to be no proper design documentation available. We now know why - see below.
Further concern was expressed - and HPERA was informed that the Redgate design was not going to be used as their new CEO did not wish to continue the sponsorship. We were also told that some of the existing vegetation would most likely have to be removed to allow access to the utilities which pass under the roundabout. We now know that detailed drawings (dated March 2022) had been produced but they were not distributed or uploaded onto the GCP website.
Tree cutting commenced without any forewarning - the Milestone monthly bulletin did not mention that this was imminent, nor was it mentioned in the Project Manager’s weekly update. The detailed drawings and description of the works, only appeared on the GCP website on 24/10/22 after the works had commenced and following protests by local residents and emails from various people including HPERA. These drawings - which you can find here and here - had not been through a consultation process with local stakeholders and did not form part of the package of specifications that were signed off by the GCP Executive Board.
We will now be pushing for a proper consultation about the proposed landscape design and asking for evidence that flattening the surface and removing mature trees to improve visibility would in fact lead to increased safety. Please do let us have your comments so that we can feed these back to GCP.