A GROUP of tree campaigners said it was keen to know how many mature and semi-mature trees can still be kept at Swansea’s Copr Bay development site.
Swansea Tree Forum said a small number of trees were felled just over a fortnight ago, well over a year after work started on the £135 million project, although there is no suggestion that this work was unauthorised.
Copr Bay phase one is being led by Swansea Council and will deliver an indoor arena, coastal park, multi-storey car park, commercial units, flats and pedestrian bridge.
The arena and adjacent coastal park, which will have new trees and greenery, required the felling of trees in what was the LC car park. A smaller number were cut down on the Wellington Street side of Tesco and replaced as part of a revamped layout.
The council said planning consent for Copr Bay was granted after significant public consultation and included the removal of some trees and the planting of others.
It added that the city centre will benefit from a net gain of trees as other projects progress.
A spokeswoman for the Swansea Tree Forum, which wants to protect and increase the city’s tree canopy, said the volunteer group would like to know which tree species would replace the felled ones at Copr Bay.
She added: “I think the council could look more at where trees could be retained. People really want the retention of trees and green space.”
It is understood that around 200 trees were due to make way for Copr Bay.
In response to the points raised by the forum, the council’s director of place, Martin Nicholls, said: “Our intention is that Copr Bay phase one will be a destination that will deliver new greenery, new business opportunities, new homes and new locations for leisure and entertainment.”
Referring to the new 1.1-acre coastal park, Mr Nicholls said:
“The greenery in this park will include shrubs, turf and more than 50 trees selected to suit the environment; they’ll be of an age and size that will give them a strong chance to flourish.
“There’ll be a range of tree species suited to the environment.”
Mr Nicholls said there will be a 100m “living wall” separating the new park from Oystermouth Road, with new shrubs and trees at ground level alongside.
He added that the council was planting around 220 trees as part of the overhaul of The Kingsway and surrounding streets, and would increase the tree cover at Castle Square as part of a planned project to improve the square.
The authority has recently adopted a green infrastructure strategy to increase the amount of city centre greenery and create a living artery between the High Street railway station and the marina.
Separately, council planning officers turned down a planning application by Tesco to fell eight trees surrounding the superstore which the supermarket said were causing a trip hazard.
Council leader Rob Stewart said the authority’s approach was that trees would not be removed unless they had to be.
He added that replacements would be semi-mature as opposed to small saplings.
“We gave a commitment to more than double the amount of trees we have, which we will do,” said Cllr Stewart.