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 30 streets in East and West Marylebone with an aim to add 500 trees to the neighbourhood by 2012.
We are delighted to announce that we have now reached 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 a total of £80,000 has been donated by the local community.
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.
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.
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.
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 Commission; Alisdair 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 been actively working on the following streets:
- Hallam Street – 40 trees – completed June 2009
- Weymouth Street – 53 trees – completed March 2010
- Devonshire Street – 52 trees – completed January 2011
- Great Portland Street – 25 trees – completed February 2011
- New Cavendish Street – 49 trees – completed February 2011
- Bolsover Street – 48 trees – completed February 2011
- Great Titchfield Street - 18 trees planted – January 2012
- Beaumont Street - 14 trees planted – February 2012
- Westmoreland Street - 12 trees planted – January 2012
- Duchess Street - 10 trees planted - March 2012
- Queen Anne Street - 14 trees planted – February 2012
- Chandos Street - 4 trees planted – January 2012
- Wellbeck Street - 4 trees planted – February 2012
- Marylebone Street - to be surveyed / evaluated
- Clipstone Mews - surveyed – February 2012
- Clipstone Street - 14 trees planted – February 2012
- Gildea Street - 4 trees planted – February 2012
- Langham Street - 8 trees planted – March 2012
- Mortimer Street – to be surveyed / evaluated
- Berners Street - 21 trees planted – February 2012
- Hanson Street – surveyed – February 2012
- Cleveland Street - 3 trees planted – February 2012
- Carburton Street - trees being planted – February 2012
- Crawford Street - 32 trees planted – February 2012
- Gloucester Place - 10 trees planted – January 2012
- Bryanston Street - 5 trees planted – February 2012
- George Street - 28 trees planted – February 2012
- Seymour Place - 31 trees planted – February 2012
- Seymour Street - 8 trees planted – February 2012
- Wigmore Street - 5 trees planted – February 2012
Considerable efforts will be made in the future to extend the benefit of the tree lines into further streets in West Marylebone, East Marylebone and Fitzrovia. The Fitzrovia and East Marylebone Forest concept document was recently been 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 the area.
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.