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Armada Way project latest update

15 March 2023

Contractors moved onto the site last night to prepare for the Armada Way project to get underway.

This work involved a plan to remove 129 trees, keep 24 existing trees and leave a further three trees which had been earmarked for removal but had been identified as having birds nesting in them.

The work started at around 8pm once the city centre site had been made safe and secured as a construction site.

For reasons of public safety and impact on the city centre and given the size of the tree machinery due to come onto Armada Way, we scheduled the works to be carried out at night with as few people around as possible. We aimed to minimise the disruption caused to the public and businesses by cordoning off parts of Armada Way.

All but 16 of the trees due to be felled are now down. In total 110 trees were felled but an injunction served at 1am meant we had to halt the works entirely.

The plan had been to remove all the felled trees and shave off and make safe any stumps along the main pedestrian routes once all the trees had come down before the start of the working day. Unfortunately the injunction meant we had to stop work.

The contractors cleaned up the site and installed more fencing to ensure the felled wood is out of bounds. 

Other trees that remain are three which have bird nests and 24 which were due to remain under the revised plans.

The revised plans were published yesterday evening together with the decision to go ahead with the scheme, the results of the engagement and a review into the consultation. All of this is online

Following an engagement programme, the final design was changed to include 169 semi-mature new trees to be planted, a revised tree planting schedule and a commitment to investigate wider tree planting in the city centre.

This means an additional 19 semi-mature trees, including more evergreens and wider canopy trees as well as keeping another existing tree.

We await applications from the claimant as directed by the court.

About the scheme

The Armada Way scheme is a regeneration project designed to transform this tired and dated city centre route and to make the city centre an attractive place to be and encourage investment.

As well as extensive planting of 169 new trees which are more resilient to an urban environment, the scheme includes a host of features designed to attract families and visitors including play and mixed use games areas with water-based play space, fountain jets for children to play in, a refurbished Braille Garden and Sundial as well as new stepped amphitheatre for performance.

Dramatically improved café seating areas and more accessible space will help create a better environment for businesses and attract new investment.

A new cycle route will be key element of the project and a new ‘sustainable urban drainage’ system which includes ‘rain gardens’ and swales that integrate the system with the new planting.

The city centre is a ‘critical drainage area’, meaning it is at capacity. The SUD system will take surface water from the combined sewer system into a new surface water drainage system, allowing capacity for city centre growth especially for residential developments. Rainfall will be stored underground and rain gardens, with the water reused to irrigate green spaces and trees, resulting in less water in the combined sewer and in heavy rainfall events discharging into Plymouth Sound. Planted reed beds will naturally clean and filter water, as well as provide habitat for wildlife.

In the last two years the Council’s Tree Planting Programme has resulted in 10,644 trees being planted in the city. This year (2022/2023) the Council will be delivering 30 tree planting schemes.