A “flagship” project to replace and add street trees in Machynlleth, continuing the town’s “legacy”, is appealing for local opinions and ideas.
A public consultation on proposals to improve the conditions of street trees along Heol Maengwyn, Penrallt Street and Pentrehedyn Street, as well as the additional planting of at least 12 trees within town centre, is now open until 16 September.
In the 1980s, 30 street trees were planted along the roads, within the conservation area. But lack of foresight and the unfavourable urban conditions meant many of the original trees haven’t had the sufficient space or correct conditions to thrive.
A new replanting scheme, headed up by North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency (NMWTRA) and Powys County Council, is hoping to replace them and potentially increase the number of street trees.
Jenny Hall has been working as a community facilitator for the project: “Machynlleth has had trees for hundred of years, they had a couple of rounds of big trees before they planted those in 1980. It’s part of the story of the town. This isn’t something new, it’s part of Machynlleth’s legacy.
“There were 30 trees planted in the 1980s, there is a statutory requirement to replace them if they die because they’re protected. But we have an opportunity to enhance the tree scape.”
Jenny said the final plan will be based on local opinion: “If we get people coming back saying ‘we love it, we don’t just want 13, we want 20’, this is something we can grab hold of and take that to the next stage. But if we heard ‘oh they’ll be a nuisance, I don’t want it’, then we won’t spend the money on it.”
While Jenny said she is unaware of the exact amount of funding available for the project, it is in the low £100,000s. But if they can’t get the trees planted in winter, there is a risk they will lose this funding.
“It’s so hard to get so many bodies and so many individuals on the same page, but let’s not let perfection be the enemy of good.
“This is a good project, with great aims. I really don’t want us to miss out on something that would be really good for the town because we’re worried about some little details that can be figured out.”
Jenny added: “The summer we’ve had, it’s kind of amazing but it’s also very concerning. Where is this going?
“We’re in this situation where our streets are getting hotter. Machynlleth is a commercial centre, we want it to be comfortable and accessible. Street trees provide shade; the temperature of a street with trees on it is substantially cooler.
“Street trees create attractive towns, increased property values and health and wellbeing, and they remove dust from the air. Water flowing off tree pits will percolate through and slow down, alleviating flooding.”
People can now view the proposals in the library, Y Plas, Canolfan Owain Glyndŵr, and the Bowling Club. An open evening will be held in the Bowling Club, from 3pm to 7.30pm, on 5 September.
To fill in the survey in English, go to https://www.haveyoursaypowys.wales/machynlleth-street-trees-consultation.
To complete in Welsh go to, https://www.dweudeichdweudpowys.cymru/ymgynghoriad-ar-goed-stryd-machynlleth.