Project Completion — W1W Tree Planting Initiative

Marylebone tree project plants 600th tree and wins two Forestry Commission / GLA Re:Leaf Awards

As part of London Tree Week, Marylebone locals celebrated the addition of the 600th tree in Marylebone and Fitzrovia.  The Minister of State for Environment, David Heath MP, planted the tree with the help of children from All Souls and St Vincent’s primary schools.

The final tree, a very distinct liquid amber, was planted on Great Portland Street yesterday to mark the closure of the project.  The inner-city initiative aimed to reduce the impact of heavy traffic and make the streets a more pleasant environment for all.

Local contributions are now well in excess of £80,000 pounds with match funding from the Westminster Tree Trust, Westminster City Council with an additional £10,000 support from the Big Tree Plant campaign.   The project benefited from considerable support from Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.

The Initiative was also recognised today with two Re:Leaf awards at London’s City Hall.

It was a wonderful day in our campaign for a greener Marylebone and Fitzrovia.

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Tree Planting Initiative for Marylebone – Project Summary

The objective of the W1W Tree Planting Initiative is to line the main streets of Marylebone with trees. The initiative has proven extremely successful thanks to a strong partnership between the local community – residents and businesses, Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.   The project planted its first 40 trees on Hallam Street in 2009.  It has since grown with 12 subsequent phases to include a further 34 streets in East and West Marylebone with an aim to add at least 500 trees to the neighbourhood by 2012.   By Spring 2012,  over 600 trees have been planted on our central London streets.

We are delighted to announce that we have surpassed our original goal of planting 500 new trees in Marylebone.  The support and financial contributions we received from all sides to reach our goal have been nothing short of phenomenal.  The funding for the trees was made possible through a match funding scheme with community donations being matched by Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.  So far over £80,000 has been donated by the local community.

Barbara Windsor and Queen College Preparatory School plant the last new tree planting. on Weymouth St

In June 2011, inspired by the forest of trees being planted on the eastern side of Marylebone High Street, a group of locals decided to form the West Marylebone Tree Initiative which would encourage tree planting to the west of the High Street.  A major effort was also launched in September 2011 to plant trees on ten East Marylebone and Fitzrovia streets in the 2011-12 planting season.

John Simpson Plants the 500the Tree

John Simpson of the BBC and St Vincents School’s Green Team plant our 500th Tree

We have enjoyed a number of community celebrations to mark our progress.  Matthew Wright of Channel 5 TV and the BBC planted the last of 40 our trees on Hallam Street in June 2009.  In November 2010, Barbara Windsor, actress and Marylebone local, planted the last of 53 new pear trees in Weymouth Street.   In April 2011, Alan Titchmarsh, celebrity broadcaster and gardening expert, planted an elm tree to mark the arrival of 48 new trees in Bolsover Street.  And in July 2011, Professor Lord Winston, the eminent scientist and fertility expert, planted the last of 49 chanticleer pear trees on New Cavendish Street.  John Simpson, the BBC’s World Affairs Editor, planted our 500th tree outside Broadcasting House on 17 May 2012.   Forestry Minister David Heath MP planted our 600th tree near Oxford Street almost a year later in May 2013.

Bolsover Street Made Green with Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh helps elm trees arrive on Bolsover Street

The Initiative has benefitted from support from all sides of the community.  We are especially grateful for the generosity of The Princess Grace Hospital and The Harley Street Clinic, The Portland Hospital, Groundwork London (Forestry Commission), The Howard de Walden Estate, The Portland Estate, Ridgeford Properties and The Langham London.  The Weymouth Street phase was also made possible by a generous contribution from Groundwork London through the Forestry Commission’s London Tree and Woodland Grant Scheme and Big Tree Plant.  Furthermore, the Initiative was included in the local charity programmes of Sainsbury’s (Great Portland Street) and Waitrose (Marylebone High Street).  The Initiative is especially grateful for the support of Westminster City Council without whom little progress would have been possible.

Motivation for the Initiative is varied and includes the following:

  • improve the quality of life for those living and working in Marylebone
  • provide a visually calming element to an increasingly busy and congested urban environment
  • make the area one of the ‘greenest’ in Westminster
  • encourage walking through our neighbourhood by creating new green pedestrian corridors
  • improve the attractiveness and uniqueness of the area

The arrival of these new trees for Eastern Marylebone marks the first extensive return of trees to the area since these streets were first laid out in the mid 1700’s.  We are also grateful for the enthusiastic support we have received from the members of the Marylebone Association at the organisation’s recent Annual General Meeting.

Great Portland Street Planting

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; assisted by Tim Rollinson, Director General, Forestry Commission; Alisdair Douglas, Chair of the Board, The Tree Council; Mark Field MP, Cities of London & Westminster; and Julian Maslinski, Chairman, Westminster Tree Trust plant the first new trees on Great Portland Street in November 2009

Our November 2009 ceremonial planting on Great Portland Street coincided with the launch of the UK’s 35th National Tree Week.  To mark the occasion, a celebratory tree was planted on the street by The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; assisted by Tim Rollinson, Director General, Forestry CommissionAlisdair Douglas, Chair of the Board, The Tree Council; Mark Field MP, Cities of London & Westminster; and Julian Maslinski, Chairman, Westminster Tree Trust.

The Initiative has contributed to the following Marylebone and Fitzrovia streets:

Devonshire Street pears 52 2011
Carburton Street birch 14 2012
Great Titchfield Street birch 23 2012
Great Titchfield Street elm 7 2012
Clipstone Street birch 12 2012
Cleveland Street birch 3 2012
Bolsover Street birch 43 2011
New Cavendish Street pear 48 2011
Beamont Street Amelanchier 14 2012
Westmoreland Street Amelanchier 12 2012
Great Portland Street Pear 27 2011
Weymouth Street pear 54 2010
Riding House Street pear 3 2012
Berners Street birch 32 2012
Eastcastle Street pear 16 2013
Langham Street pear 10 2012-3
Gildea Street pear 4 2012
Hallam Street pear 43 2009
Duchess Street pear 10 2012
Mansfield Street elm 4 2012
Chandos Place birch 4 2012
Queen Anne Street birch 14 2012
Welbeck Street pear 10 2012
Marylebone Street tbc 0
Newman Street tbc 0
Wigmore Street pear 5 2012
York Street birch 6 2013
Gloucester Place pear 10 2012
Crawford Street olive 19 2012
Crawford Street birch 19 2012
Seymour Place Gingko 33 2012
George Street elm 28 2013
Brown Street Amelanchier 12 2013
Nutford Place Amelanchier 4 2013
Nutford Place pear 4 2013
Old Quebec Street Koeruteria 1 2013
Seymour Street elm 11 2012
Bryanston Street elm 5 2013
Dorset Street birch 5 2013
Total  621

Considerable efforts has been made to extend the benefit of the tree lines into the streets of West Marylebone, East Marylebone and Fitzrovia.  This effort was underpinned by the Fitzrovia and East Marylebone Forest concept document published by ARUP.  The document seeks to identify a number of townscape and public realm interventions and to encourage local residents, businesses and organizations to support the implementation of these interventions.  We are most grateful for all the effort put into creating this advocacy document to improve our neighbourhood.

Hallam Street Trees in 2009

The trees on Hallam Street were some of the  first added by the Initiative (2009)

Finally, we would like to personally thank every volunteer who supported our activities and helped us collect contributions for our trees during the many phases of the Initiative.  Without your help we would not have been able to deliver these wonderful results.

All tree planting is subject to local authority survey and consent.

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Fitzrovia Forest’s Future Steps

It’s been a busy 2012-13 season for planting in Fitzrovia and East Marylebone despite delays caused by the late release of subterranean infrastructure data.  Over 30 trees were planted in addition to the +210 added in the last few seasons.

Fitzrovia South - Newman St. Facing South from Eastcastle

Lots more still to do: Newman St. Facing South from Eastcastle Street

The Initiative is keen to see the last barren streets near the sizeable Middlesex Hospital, Berners Hotel and Rathbone Place redevelopment sites greened.  This will help neighbourhood streets that really need some TLC and also strengthen the impact of the Central London Green Grid project.

East Marylebone / Fitzrovia Planting 2012-13:

Riding House Street        pear                       3
Gildea Street                     pear                       4
Eastcastle Street              pear                      16
Langham Street               pear                      10
Great Portland Street     Liquid Amber       1

The Initiative has appealed to Westminster City Council to ensure that appropriate trees find appropriate homes on the streets which lie just north of New Oxford Street (listed below).

Possible future East Marylebone / Fitzrovia Streets for Planting:

Great Portland Street
Newman Street
Eastcastle Street (by Berners Hotel)
Berners Street    (by Berners Hotel)
Margaret Street
Riding House Street (by All Souls School)
Middleton Place (1 near University of Westminster)

All tree planting is subject to survey and local authority consent.

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2013 Update – West Marylebone Trees

By Rosemary Forgan

Crawford Street - West Marylebone - Trees Planted

Crawford Street in West Marylebone

Imagine walking through a beautiful forest of trees, offering extraordinary diversity – from pear to birch, from amelanchier to olives.   It would take a while because there are over 600 trees to enjoy – considerably more than the number found in an average orchard.

The thing is this ‘forest’ is in a place that those of us lucky enough to live or work in Marylebone walk through every day.   The west of the forest is framed by Edgware Road, Marylebone High Street to the east, Marylebone Road to the north and Oxford Street to the south – and its existence can only be described as an extraordinary accomplishment.

It was only 5 years ago, in 2008, that a group of locals got together with the idea of greening Marylebone – and a target of 119 trees for the whole area.   It began in ‘east Marylebone’ and soon spread to ‘west Marylebone’.    Now there are over 600 trees in total, approximately half of them in the area defined as west Marylebone.  Businesses, individuals and community groups all got together to raise funds and later organise the planting.   The Portman Estate worked closely with the Tree Section of Westminster Council – with many businesses in the vicinity contributing sponsorship money and support.

I don’t suppose many of us spend too much time thinking about what is under our feet as we pound the streets but it was a real priority for those doing the planting.  Each site had to be excavated to check whether tree roots would interfere with the various services and equally whether there would be enough room for roots to spread and grow.

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Olive trees were chosen for Crawford Street blending in beautifully with those already planted in large tubs outside Clarewood Court.   They are a particularly useful species in this environment as they actually like having their roots squeezed.

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Titania’s, the florist, enhanced their appearance still further by under-planting – firstly daffodils in the Spring

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Then a striking mixed display as the season wore on

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Margaret Fenton, who lived and worked in Marylebone for most of her life, left a generous bequest to The Marylebone Association when she died in 2010 so some of the money was used to dedicate a tree to her memory.  A group of friends and Marylebone Association members got together for the unveiling ceremony.

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The tree is planted outside The Temperance pub in York Street – a rather beautiful lime tree, Tilia henryana, whose leaves have an unusual serrated edge.

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A small plaque is embedded (firmly!) in the pavement in her memory.

What a difference the trees have made!   Apart from the aesthetics – the pure joy of walking down a tree-lined street – they earn their keep by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere but the increase in the number of birds to be heard singing away in the early morning and later at night is quite astonishing.

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So that’s it, all done and dusted?    Well not quite.    For reasons which remain a mystery, some people seem to have trouble distinguishing the tree cages from rubbish bins – and carefully stuff their cardboard coffee cartons or empty drink cans down inside.   Why we’ll never know but if everybody who saw them took a minute of their time to remove them it would be much appreciated by all.

Free the tree from litter!

Free the tree from litter!

As with any living plant matter, the trees will grow on their own, getting  larger and providing increasing shade as they mature but there are also back up plans in place to keep an eye on them, to make sure if any die or become unsightly they are replaced.    The little ‘green jackets’ the trees are wrapped have raised a few questions too – what are they?      In fact they are to catch rainwater and make sure the trees don’t dry out although the species have been chosen for their ability to survive and thrive in a relatively confined space – a little like the people of Marylebone themselves?

Note:

Trees planted during the 2012-3 planting season in West Marylebone include

Brown Street – 12 Amelanchier
Nutford Place – 4 Amelanchier
York Street – 6 birch
Dorset Street – 5 birch
George Street – 28 elm
Bryanston Street – 5 elm
Old Quebec Street – 1 Koeruteria
Nutford Place – 4 pear

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50 Elms planted in Marylebone and Fitzrovia supporting Ulmus Londonium Project

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The W1W Street Tree Initiative supports the aim of the Ulmus Londinium Project to return elm trees to London.  A great many elm trees here were lost in the 1970s to Dutch Elm Disease.  The Ulmus Londonium Project has sought to reverse the losses.

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Our first two first elms were planted by Alan Titchmarsh on Bolsover Street in 2011.  Elm trees had originally grown nearby until they were removed at the end of the 1800’s.   By Spring 2013, Westminster City Council has planted over 50 Dutch Elm Disease resistant trees in suitable locations all across Marylebone.

The distribution of the new elm trees is as follows:

Bolsover Street               elm              2                 2011

Mansfield Street             elm              4                 2012

George Street                 elm             28                2013

Seymour Street              elm             11                2012

Bryanston Street            elm              5                2013

                                       Total           50

This is a wonderful result for all involved.

To see the London’s elm numbers grow further do visit the Natural History Museum’s online tree map which shows the Ulmus Londinium project’s progress.

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Marylebone’s Beaumont Street now lined with 14 Amelanchier trees

Another Marylebone Tree Planting phase was completed successfully today on Beaumont Street.  Lord Glenarthur, Chairman, dug in a tree and unveiled a plaque thanking the Consultants at King Edward VII’s Hospital for sponsoring the 5 Amelanchier trees recently planted outside the Hospital.  Peter Ruback, Chairman of the Westminster Tree Trust, who was also present mentioned how pleased the Trust has been to plant so many trees near hospitals in Marylebone and Fitzrovia.

Lord Glenarthur plants the untimate Amelanchier tree in front of King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone

Lord Glenarthur plants the ultimate Amelanchier tree in front of King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone

A total of 14 trees have been planted on the Beaumont Street by the W1W Tree Planting Initiative.  The Initiative has planted over 500 trees in the neighbourhood since 2009 in order to support the Central London Green Grid.  The Initiative has proven extremely successful thanks to a strong partnership between the local community — residents and businesses, Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.

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We are especially grateful to Westminster City Council’s Arboricultural Department for the wonderful support provided to the project.

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Urban Tree Planting, Motivation, Policy and Guidance

This gallery contains 17 photos.

Here is a short list of publications that provide helpful reading for those that want to know more about planting trees in cities.  We hope these motivate you to increase the number of trees in your neighbourhood. You may download a … Continue reading

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University of Westminster contributes to the further greening of a very chilly Cleveland Street

Trees added to Cleveland Street – Fitzrovia Forest – University of Westminster –   Opposite BT Tower

Trees in westminster

Celebration: Trevor Wills, Director of Estates & Facilities, Professor Geoffrey Petts, Vice-Chancellor, of the University of Westminster, Peter Ruback CBE, Chairman of Westminster Tree Trust, and Tarik Mahriat Students’ Union representative (Left-Right) after planting two new trees on Cleveland Street (W1W)

Tree planting in Fitzrovia continues with the recent addition of two silver birch trees outside University of Westminster‘s Cavendish Campus on Cleveland Street.  The trees arrival marks the University’s 175th anniversary, an important milestone in institution’s history while contributing to the greening of another area of our neighbourhood.  Planting more trees on Cleveland Street has proved especially challenging due to the extent of subterranean infrastructure under its pavements.

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The trees’ arrival was celebrated at a ceremonial planting on 20 March 2013, with one of the trees being planted by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoffrey Petts, and the other by Students’ Union representative, Tarik Mahri.   Peter Ruback, Chairman of Westminster Tree Trust, spoke to gathering stressing the commitment the Trust has had to green the streets of Westminster – in particular those in East Marylebone.  This was the first tree planting at any of the University’s Central London sites in recent years.

The idea of the Cleveland Street tree project was inspired by the W1W Tree Planning Initiative, which has planted hundreds of trees in the area as part of the Fitzrovia Forest project in East Marylebone.  The neighbourhood is acknowledged to suffer from high levels of environmental deprivation.  Westminster City Council part funded this project, which was delivered in coordination with the Westminster Tree Trust, W1W Tree Planting Initiative and DEFRA’s Big Tree Plant campaign.  We are especially grateful to Westminster Council’s Arboricultural Department for the wonderful support they provided to the project.

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These trees are in addition to the many that have now been planted around the Cavendish Campus of Westminster University.  This endeavour has been part of concerted action to improve the local area with trees and the creation of a new pocket park at the north of Great Titchfield Street.

The Big Tree Plant Grant Application

Seeking funds for trees in Fitzrovia and East Marylebone

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John Simpson plants Initiative’s 500th tree in Marylebone

“He is more used to war zones than green zones, but BBC’s John Simpson CBE did his bit for the ‘greening of Marylebone’ when he shovelled soil to plant the 500th tree outside BBC Broadcasting House as part of a three-year street tree project for Marylebone and Fitzrovia.”

The world affairs editor was joined by his family, pupils from St Vincent’s Primary School and the newly elected Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Angela Harvey at an event organised by the W1W Tree Planting Initiative, a scheme run by residents, businesses, the Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council.

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Speaking at the event, the 67-year-old BBC world affairs editor said: “In my daily work I see a lot of destruction and cruelty and stupidity – a lot of the destroying of good things of the earth.  To play a part in planting something like this is absolutely marvellous.”

This marked a landmark moment for the four-year W1W Tree Planting Initiative, a partnership between residents, businesses, Westminster Tree Trust and Westminster City Council, to improve the borough streets.  The project received match funding from the Trust and Council with £80,000 being donated by local residents, businesses and organisations.

Westminster Lord Mayor Angela Harvey with three Councillors Alan Bradley, Harvey Marshall and Jonathan Glanz who supported the project since its inception.

In her first official engagement as Lord Mayor Councillor Angela Harvey, a former Chairman of the Go Green Task Force at Westminster City Council, remarked on the achievement of getting the 500 trees planted in Marylebone prior to the Olympics — just as locals had originally hoped.  Moy Scott, Vice Chair of Westminster Tree Trust, who spoke to the gathering, mentioned how pleased the Trust was with this result.  The text of Moy’s speech may be accessed here.

Recently the W1W Tree Planting Initiative received a big boost when the Big Tree Plant campaign provided a grant of £10,000 to support further tree planting in East Marylebone and Fitzrovia.

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2012: Scores of New Trees Planted in West Marylebone

11 June 2012 – Giorgio Locatelli planted an elm tree outside his eponymous restaurant on Seymour Street (by Portman Square) in celebration of the 119 new trees being planted in West Marylebone early 2012.  The planting took place in the presence of The Lord Mayor of Westminster Cllr Angela Harvey and Moy Scott, Vice Chair of Westminster Tree Trust.

By Spring 2012, we had the pleasure of seeing trees planted on Crawford Street, Gloucester Place, Bryanston Street, George Street, Seymour Place, Seymour Street and  Wigmore Street in Marylebone.

We are most grateful for the generous support this campaign has received from local residents and businesses, The Portman Estate and Westminster City Council.

LOVE OF TREES – by Tony Frazer-Price

West Marylebone celebrates with the Lord Mayor Cllr Angela Harvey and Giorgio Locatelli the planting of 144 new trees in the neighbourhood

I got involved with the West Marylebone tree project by way of Sybil Kapoor whose amazing enthusiasm got our tree fever vision off the ground.

I certainly can’t lay claim to the five hundred trees that are now planted around Marylebone but just those that now line Crawford Street. The target was 39 trees with birches either end of Crawford Street and olive trees  in the middle section to match the thriving olive trees that were planted outside Clarewood Court a few years ago.

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Sybil and I found great enthusiasm for the idea of olive trees and birches abounding the pavements of Crawford Street and there were twenty-one donations from businesses,mansion blocks and individuals who gladly gave over £5,000 so that they could be part of the tree heritage that will grow and grow.

In West Marylebone we are now blessed with trees and I even got involved in a tree planting ceremony – there’s a first for my CV – with the Councillor Angela Harvey, the Lord Mayor of Westminster and Giorgio Locatelli when a tree was planted outside his restaurant.

Crawford Street street scene in Spring 2012

Time to reflect on the comforting reality that as we and our families put down roots in this lovely area of London so do our trees. They will keep on growing and prospering as well as be there for all to enjoy for years to come.  Now that the Westminster Tree Trust has started this initiative I hope, that in years to come, not only will residents continue to enjoy our trees but ensure that others grow alongside them.

LOVE OF TREES

Tony Frazer-Price

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