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Taking root! The first of 170 new city centre trees

The first of 170 new trees have been planted as part of a major Swansea regeneration scheme.

KingswayCircleTrees

The trees stand up to 10m tall and line the city centre's Orchard Street, with some also up in The Kingsway.

They are part of Swansea's Council's £12m Kingsway Infrastructure Programme.

As part of the scheme, bringing new life and vitality to a key city centre area, trees will also be planted in The Kingsway, Mansel Street, Christina Street, Grove Place, Alexandra Road, Belle Vue Way and De-La Beche Street. Video by iCreate

The planned total number of trees in these streets - around 220 - will be more than double the number previously there, and there will be greater biodiversity. 

By the end of the year, The Kingsway will be a people-friendly tree-lined urban park with a two-lane road running east and west. After the planting of the first trees, foliage will emerge in spring and the trees will mature in future years.

Council leader Rob Stewart said: "The Kingsway project will double the number of trees in this area of the city centre.

"It will also bring large grassed areas to The Kingsway and extra plants and shrubbery, illustrating Council's commitment to green infrastructure.

"Along with greatly widened pedestrian areas this will help make the city centre much more people-friendly."

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "This project will help business generate greater footfall and deliver a powerful economic boost to the city.

"It will create the right environment to attract further investment."

The Kingsway scheme is among a number of major regeneration projects set to create new wealth across Swansea.

They include the Swansea Central Phase One project next to the LC; this will include a 3,500 capacity digital arena and a new coastal parkland.

Improvements to The Kingsway include a 20mph road which, in due course, will be a two-way route.

New zebra crossings there make it easier for pedestrians to make their way to and from shops, services and workplaces.

Mark Thomas, the council's cabinet member for environment and infrastructure management, said: "The Kingsway area's new trees will help create the high quality green artery through the city centre that we aspire to.

"When the work is completed around the end of this year there will be lots more trees, lots more greenery and a more welcoming ambience in the city centre.

"The new trees are part of a process to plant more trees and improve greening throughout Swansea."

New trees in this scheme will include alder, birch, cherry, lime, maples, flowering pears, snowy mespilus, katsura and Persian ironwood. 

They have been chosen for their suitability, form, flowering, leaf texture and autumn colouring as well as practical reasons within the street scene.

Generally, the new street trees will be semi-mature or extra-heavy in nature.

When planted they will be 7-10m in overall height and have a clear stem height of around 3m that will be raised further over time.

Many of the trees are being planted now with the remainderlater in the year as areas are completed and the seasons allow. All planting will incorporate root protection to stop roots disrupting the pathways and roads that might otherwise result in trip hazards.

The Kingsway tree planting programme is being supported by business organisation Swansea BID.

Chief executive Russell Greenslade said: "We believe that a greener and more attractive city centre can only have long-term benefits in terms of attracting higher volumes of people in to the city centre and making it a more appealing place to visit for shoppers and visitors.

"We are pleased to see the council committing to a long-term vision to improve the city centre through the planting of almost 170 new trees and the on-going regeneration work taking place throughout the city."

The Kingsway programme is seeing around 50 existing trees retained - aided by the removal of some paving around trees in Orchard Street - and around 50 removed. Some of the timber from the felled trees is being donated to artists and social enterprises.

Previous city centre tree planting projects such as the Boulevard and Westway have seen the council introduce significantly more street trees and greenery than were previously present. This has created an attractive streetscene and is encouraging greater biodiversity.

Image: How the Kingsway Circle will look in future, looking up from Princess Way.

 

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