Kensington Roof Gardens
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/METHOD STATEMENT INFORMING SITE RENOVATION
Client: Kensington RG Ltd.
The Kensington & Chelsea Local Plan 2019 and the Kensington Square Conservation Area Appraisal (Draft 2017) identify 99 –121 Kensington High Street as an iconic large Art Deco building of international significance. Both the building and related roof gardens are designated Grade II* listed status The pavilion has been closed for in excess of 3 years since Virgin Media surrendered their lease. In early 2020 our clients entered into a lease in respect of the 6th floor pavilion and roof gardens with the intention of bringing forward proposals to restore the pavilion and garden areas. In 2021, Landmark Trees were instructed as arboricultural consultants on the project, providing a base line survey of the current condition of the trees and palms and review of management recommendations, including specialist pruning and irrigation regimes to maintain trees in rooftop setting, as well as liaising between the design team and RBKC planning on some of the more sensitive aspects of restoration / replanting on this iconic site. A full suite of reports and method statements was provided in support of the planning application. In May 2022 conditional planning permission was granted for the ‘Renovation and redevelopment works to sun pavilion at 6th / 7th floor and renovation of historic gardens at 6th floor level’.
Kensington Palace Gardens
HAZARD RISK ASSESSMENT & MANAGEMENT /DIAGNOSITC INSPECTION / DECAY DETECTION
Client: Crown Estates
A tree-lined avenue half a mile long studded with embassies and private residences, Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most expensive residential streets in the world, though until recently the majority of its occupants have been either national embassies or ambassadorial residences. Landmark Trees have worked on a number of the newer private (e.g. One Palace Green) and more established ambassadorial residences (e.g. 15 KPG) within the road, typically in support of planning applications for renovation. However, our most significant and ongoing contribution has been in the management of avenue trees themselves. Since 2011 we have been providing detailed inspections and hazard risk assessments of the avenue of London planes. The trees were planted when the gardens were set out between 1840 and 1860 and are therefore of considerable age and varied internal condition – a good number contain cavities and decay that are not immediately discernible to the eye. Landmark Trees use a combination of sonic tomography and resistance micro-drilling to monitor the extent of the decay and so inform management decisions. As the trees and their safety are a vital aspect of this prestigious avenue, these inspections are now carried out on an annual basis.
Westminster School, Vincent Square
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT INFORMING PLANNING APPLICATION
Client: Westminster School
Vincent Square has long been an area of former countryside that has been used by the pupils of Westminster School for the purpose of playing sport. It is located just 10 minutes’ walk to the west of the historic built-up area of the City of Westminster, but is prized for its ‘pastoral qualities.’ As the surrounding lands were developed for housing in the C19th, the Vincent Square playing fields survived undeveloped. Landmark Trees have been involved in the management of the many 100ft London plane trees lining the square since 2012. More recently (since 2017), this has involved the renovation of the site, including its 1889 pavilion and sports field drainage. A muddled arrangement of storage structures has accumulated behind, and like the vehicle parking on site, these have become difficult for the school to manage and are inadequate. Unfortunately, most of the renovation works take place within the substantial constraints of the protected London planes. Every aspect of the planning and subsequent construction has had to be planned with the trees in mind. Landmark Trees’ long-term involvement with school and Westminster City Council’s Tree Section, along with our working knowledge of the trees on site has smoothed the various projects through planning to consent. We are now well into the construction phase, retained for site monitoring to ensure all the precautions identified at planning are put into the practice and these iconic trees remain protected.
Lambeth Palace Library
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT INFORMING CONSTRUCTION/SITE MONITORING
Client: The Church Commissionsers
Lambeth Palace Library contains an unrivalled collection of precious books and manuscripts that have contributed to the ecclesiastical and cultural life of the Church and the nation for centuries. The new library situated within the grounds of the palace is to become a landmark public building in Lambeth and will increase the accessibility of this world class collection, one of the first public libraries in England. Commissioning the new library on such a sensitive site presented a great opportunity to create a building of exemplary green standards, both in its construction and future operation.
Working with an award-winning multi-disciplinary design team. Landmark Trees provided specialist arboricultural advice during the planning process and have been retained to monitor works throughout construction for overall tree protection. As part of the ongoing management strategy of the garden, plans had already been made for the removal of a small number of mature chestnut trees which have unfortunately become irreparably damaged by Bleeding Canker. Those trees have been removed during the construction of the library, allowing the palace to implement a planned programme of long-term tree management. Wherever possible, any trees removed will be recycled, with timber used to create furniture and sculpture for the Palace as well as being used as compost and wood chippings for the gardens. Completion is due in 2020.
The King's Observatory
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT
Client: Kew Holdings Ltd
The King’s Observatory and its surrounding parkland are situated within the London Borough of Richmond. The observatory was constructed in 1767 by King George III, with the parkland designed in the style of the famous landscape architect, Capability Brown, in 1769. Plans for the restoration of the Observatory and its landscape setting were commissioned when Kew Holding took back the head lease, with Landmark Trees instructed to undertake a survey of the existing tree resource in 2010. Initial ideas explored the possibilities of replacing the confusion of surrounding buildings and structures with a pair of formalised, surface wings on either side of the Grade I building. This approach was gradually rejected as too intrusive into the landscape and disruptive of the simple purity of Chambers’ building. The design then evolved to replace all the modern building underground and restore the Observatory to its Arcadian setting on a grassy mound. The proposals that received planning permission in 2014 are for the partial demolition, change of use to C3 residential, the subterranean extension of the building and landscape restoration works, including substantial new tree planting.
65-67 Bishops Avenue, Buxmead
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT/10 YEAR ARBORICULTURAL & LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT PLAN
Client: Harrison Varma Services Ltd
Landmark Trees have been retained by Harrison Varma since 2007 for all their development projects (proposals and construction) in and around The Bishops Avenue. For this relatively large wooded site, situated in a Conservation Area, with Tree Preservation Orders affecting various trees in and around the site, Landmark Trees have played an important role within the multi-disciplinary team. The work from the outset (site purchase) included identifying planning constraints, informing the design process, liaising with two London Boroughs and local stakeholders, negotiating solutions and agreeing long-term (S106) management strategies, as well as providing the client with practical expertise and technical support during the construction process. A 25 year landscape management plan was produced in support of the planning permission. This document sets out the arrangements for the maintenance of the combined tree resource (the Bishops Wood) and new landscaping to complement the proposed renovation of the existing dwelling and the new high-quality apartment development.
The Grove Hotel
TREE CONSTRAINTS PRE-PLANNING ADVICE/ARBORICULTURAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT/ARBORICULTURAL METHOD STATEMENT/ MANAGEMENT OF THE TREE RESOURCE
Client: The Grove Hotel
The Grove is a luxury five-star hotel, set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire countryside, 18 miles from central London. The former home of the Earls of Clarendon is now a championship golf resort and award-winning spa, has three restaurants and a walled garden with urban beach. The Estate is enclosed by woodland to the south and north, and hedgerows to the east and west. Landmark Trees have been retained by the Grove Hotel as arboricultural specialists to advise on the tree constraints affecting the expansion and modernisation of the hotel, and on the management of the existing tree resource around the property. The key aspects of this project include:
• On-going management/protection of the retained tree resource: the Hotel has to respond to an evolving requirement for a high quality experience for the exclusive cliental, requiring the adaptation and extension of the existing buildings and other built resources. Landmark Trees provide on-going advice to enable the hotel to meet the requirements for development within the significant arboricultural constraints.
• Pre-application advice: early identification of the tree constraints likely to affect proposed developments to allow operational enhancement. Design modifications and mitigation to reduce impacts prior to any planning submission.
Since 2009, Landmark Trees have been helping Eton College design and implement a risk management strategy for its extensive school grounds and wider rural estate. Including the sports fields, there are 1000 trees in the immediate grounds alone, with the numbers running into the tens of thousands for the total estate. A diverse network of thoroughfares from the High Street and Half Mile Track to the River Thames itself runs beneath the crowns of large, mature trees.
Before even undertaking the surveys, we worked with the college to identify the higher-risk areas within the site for priority surveying. Only then were the first 1000 trees surveyed to record relevant qualitative data in order to assess their condition and the extent of risk liability. Survey type varied by area usage from general walkover studies to individual tree inspections, and where indicated, further investigation with diagnostic equipment (PICUS sonic tomogram or Resistograph microdrill). These powerful tools allow us to look further ‘inside’ the tree, guided by our initial visual assessment. For a short, but helpful demonstration, please see the video.
Providing the college with a quantified tree risk assessment (a composite ranking of target area, size of significant part and risk of failure) has allowed the estates management team to initiate a defensible strategy, prioritising tasks according to ranking, and so discharge its liability to students and members of the public. The college now has two fully trained inspectors in its grounds staff to monitor the continuing health of trees, using the inventories created, in dialogue with our own consultants. The result has been a move away from a reactive service to informed resource management, working together to make the best use of in-house capability and external consultancy.