Rethink on Kettering GLaM site with new plan to save some of the doomed trees

A petition had been launched to urge Kettering Council to save some of the trees

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 8:28 pm

Kettering Council bosses have had new plans drawn up after proposals for several trees to be chopped down to make way for a £3.9 million cultural quarter extension project caused public uproar.

The planned removal of the trees sparked a petition and a row as reported by this newspaper after plans showed the fate of more than ten trees.

As a result of the public disapproval and concern from Kettering Green Party and Save Kettering’s Heritage Quarter’s Trees, new draft plans have been published.

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Top: The site as it is now Bottom: The site with the garage in the Kettering Council car park removed to make way for an entrance.

In a statement on the GLaM project section a spokesman for This is Kettering said: "We’d like to say thank you for all your feedback on the works taking place in the Manor House Garden.

"We’ve taken into consideration your comments on the protection of the area and want to ensure that only essential tree removal will take place to enable the works and provide a new, accessible entrance.

"This results in two tree removals. We’ll also be transplanting - moving trees to a new location - four trees within the Manor House gardens.

"We will be engaging on wider landscape designs shortly, this will provide an opportunity to develop a robust landscape plan which celebrates the natural environment and improves soft and hard landscaping.

The original plans

"This will ensure habitat protection and enhancement, as well as reduce anti-social behaviour."

The new plans would require the removal of some buildings in the corner of the Kettering Council car park.

A spokesman for Kettering Council said: "It is still a work in progress in terms of establishing exactly what work is carried out and when.

"The removal of the grounds maintenance store in the corner of the car park will mean we can avoid removing a number of trees, but planning consent for this removal is required first."

The gardens where the GLaM extension will be built

The £3.9 million GLam (The Gallery, Library and Museum) project, approved by Kettering Council's planning committee, will see an extension to the Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering Library and the Manor House Museum.

Funded by the Getting Building Fund, administered by SEMLEP, with match funding from Kettering Council and Northamptonshire County Council, part of the extended gallery and library building will expand the British Library led Business & IP Centre Northamptonshire.

It will provide entrepreneurs and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) free access to a wide range of support.

Dez Dell of Kettering Green Party said: "I still have questions about which trees are to be moved and how they are going to be moved.

"Generally smaller, younger trees have more chance of long-term survival after being moved. Trees obviously have large root structures which will be damaged when moved, and even if replanted elsewhere, they may initially look ok, but moving them can shorten the lifespan of a formerly healthy tree significantly.

"If the plans can be adjusted to keep as many of the four trees in situ as possible they should be kept."

A spokesman for Save Kettering's Heritage Quarter's Trees said: "After seeing the architect plans for the entrance we have an important question - where is the silver birch?

"The signatures of nearly 1,000 people must mean something and these people feel like their views are not being listened to or heard.

"We are hoping that KBC will engage and consult with the public in regard to any future landscaping plans, and we are hoping for a meeting with the development team early next week.

"Let's hope it's not too late for the silver birch."