Daniels Brook Devastation – Sledgehammer cracking a nut!

Published On December 30, 2011 » 2614 Views» Kingsway

On the border between Kingsway and Tuffley is Daniels Brook.  In 2007 this flooded (as did much of Gloucester) and flooded a lot of the gardens of the houses in Bodium Avenue.  The Environment Agency has been working on the Brook to ensure it is more able to cope with the water run off and drainage requirements.  We knew this work was going to happen in some form, but what we were not prepared for was the devastation it would cause to so many of the trees and habitats that exist along there.  

In the Citizen, there is an article today featuring Cllr Steve Morgan who is “delighted” with the work.  He obviously has not decided to venture over to Kingsway and see it from our perspective.  The Environment Agency were tasked with full consultation to ensure that residents were aware and in agreement with the plans, but they obviously decided that they could not be bothered because many of the directly affected Kingsway residents have been left shocked and aghast at what was a very attractive edge of the estate, is now a barren wasteland as the Environment agency has rode roughshod and ripped out pretty much every tree it can see.  At the recent Kingsway Association AGM, residents highlighted the lack of communication and the rather excessive approach that has been taken, since then it has only got worse.

Don’t get me wrong, some action had to happen, because I believe that a lot of the issues were caused by the neglecting of the brook by the agency responsible, and therefore a serious cleaning up task was required, and some deepening required, but not the whole-scale destruction of the entire area  for the sake of the freak event in 2007 (according to the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology).

As a bit of a pacifier, the Environment Agency will be replacing “some” trees, but this will not be happening until the back-end of 2012, even though they could be doing this right now (The ideal planing time for trees is the winter as they are mainly dormant).  I personally think the action they have taken is so over the top and destructive, it makes a mockery of the name of the agency.

If only they had consulted properly and this could have all been highlighted and worked out, but it seems that they work in a little bubble of their own, regardless of who is affected.

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6 Responses to Daniels Brook Devastation – Sledgehammer cracking a nut!

  1. Amanda Kirby says:

    The article in the Citizen today made me SO angry! It was a picture of complete devastation behind Cllr Morgan, and there he stood with a grin on his face. This area can’t be seen from Tuffley at all. The houses on Bodiam Ave have lovely long gardens, many with gates at the end with little bridges crossing the brook, and lots of mature hedges and trees screening the view.

    The brook has crossed from being a picturesque sale point, to being a nuisance, so the whole landscape has been destroyed. Over the last few months we have: picked plums from the trees there, which have now been removed; we’ve taken part in the Big Butterfly Count in that area and spotted loads of different species of moths and butterflies, but all the butterfly habitat has been destroyed, along with any eggs or caterpillars; we’ve been fossil hunting, collecting ‘devil’s toenails’, Jurassic mollusc fossils; we’ve played Pooh sticks on the bridge over the brook, often disappointed as the brook is often blocked with weeds and rubbish, which should be regularly cleared out.

    The little trickle of the brook has now been widened into a huge ravine. Complete overkill. What were they thinking?

  2. James says:

    The EA aren’t done yet. If they grant UBB a license to operate a 190,000 TPA incinerator at Javelin Park, we’ll have more than habitat destruction to worry about.

  3. James says:

    I think Barry is right to highlight the lack of consultation with residents and given there is a well established residents association in Kingsway, I am surprised the opportunity was missed by the City Council.

    However, in the council’s defence, they have been very proactive in encouraging tree growth and each year they provide trees FREE OF CHARGE to residents from the country park at Robinswood; see http://www.gloucester.gov.uk/trees.

    Gloucester is also the country’s first ‘Bee Guardian’ City and that certainly reflects well on Gloucester’s people and its council who were canny enough to transform a financial shortfall into an environmental opportunity; see this article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-14191108.

    Although the 2007 floods were regarded as a freak weather event, the EA are predicting higher frequency of flash flooding so in the longer term, these works are inevitable but it should only be done with regard to local habitat and those residents who benefit directly from it.

    Can I suggest that the Residents Association write to the city council with a copy to QUVL and the regional EA office outlining above concerns. To say that “some” trees will be planted at the end of 2012 is simply not good enough. The response should outline in some detail, the extent and timing of tree planting.

  4. Joe K says:

    I was initially sympathetic to your woes, Barry, but looking more closely, these ‘scenes of terrible devastation’, to borrow a phrase from a half-remembered Radio 4 comedy show, are what one would expect to see shortly after extensive groundwork (and I was a groundworker for around twenty years). When the lorries and diggers and whatever else is required for the work leave the site, the landscape will be restored, just like that roundabout on Finlay Road that the gas pipe layers used as a compound. My kinds couldn’t believe what a mess it was, and now it looks like a picnic spot.

    It looks, mind, as if the work is not quite finished yet, and in that case, planting trees now would be like digging up paving for drainage repairs, putting everything back nicely, then ripping it up two weeks later for cable TV ducts. It looks like they do plan to plant trees in the winter, just not this winter, and now you’ve got plenty of time to make sure they do their work in consultation with residents. Personally, I’d badger local councillors to keep everyone informed, but that’s just me.

    Residents should have a discussion amongst themselves about how they can take advantage of the current level of access, and transport to boot, to plan their own improvements to the area. I wish we had such an opportunity.

  5. Joe K says:

    Oops, ‘kids’, not ‘kinds’.

    This does give me a chance to comment on the ‘mood meter’, though. ‘Sad’, but not ‘Happy’? Some very strange options there…

  6. Barry says:

    Hi Joe,

    Yes your right in terms of the current scenes being that of work in progress. However the point is that there is a lot of trees and landscaping that has been taken up that need not have been. I have been out again today and taken some photos from the Kingsway side and my main disgust is that so many trees have been taken from the Kingsway side that need not have been, there is a lot of open land to the Tuffley side that could have been used.

    You get the essence of the gripe though, the lack of consultation. Thankfully Cllr Wood, on reading this has sent me a “newsletter” that tells me of the plans and I will put this up as a new post with my photos and Satellite photo to explain my point of view. But if the EA had consulted as they should have done then we would not be in this position.

    While I agree that much of the work will look fine in a couple of years, but the point is it needed not to have had to recover quite so much in the first place.

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