Local Market Ward councillors, Katie Porrer, Tim Bick and Anthony Martinelli recently put forward a bid for "succession tree planting" on Parker's Piece, as part of their budget amendment to Council. The plan would have seen funding allocated to ensure that semi-mature trees are in place at the Piece's perimeter before older trees die and that consideration would be given to planting extra trees where appropriate. Cllr Martinelli and Cllr Porrer had attended a recent community meeting about trees on the Piece, where it was clear that there was considerable support for proper planning for replacement trees and for investigating means of improving biodiversity, whilst protecting the iconic character of the area and its use for recreation and sport.
Cllr Porrer said: “We are very keen to see more planting of trees in the city, as they help to soak up carbon and traffic pollution and provide shade. But like many residents we don’t want to limit recreational usage of Parker’s Piece or its sense of space which is so unique in a city centre."
“It seems to us that this is the right time to implement the recommendation of the Parker’s Piece Conservation Plan - to plant the next generation of trees which will eventually succeed to the majestic avenues as they come towards the end of their natural lives. If we don’t act now, we’ll face a very barren place in the future.”
The scheme, which would have provided for public consultation and professional landscape advice was rejected by the ruling group, but the campaign will continue.
In addition, Cllr Bick raised the issue of the future of the "North Pole" funfair which has created significant issues for residents over the winter. It has expanded dramatically in scope in recent years, resulting in the destruction of areas of the grass. Similarly, Cllr Martinelli awaits a written response to his oral question on the path resurfacing works which, as of February 2020, have been ongoing since July 2019 despite original plans to complete the works within 15 weeks. It is hoped that these works will also see the installation of a final heritage lamppost to illuminate the crosswords near the public toilets, which has been awaiting completion since the funding was originally won by ward councillors in April 2016.