In October 2020 Sustainable Southmead set out to consult with the Southmead community and gather their thoughts on plans to regenerate the Trym Valley Open Space via a scheme of tree planting.
- To regenerate the River Trym to host a multiplicity of native species, up to and including trout
- To increase the status, appreciation and use of the area in the local community
- To create a bio-diverse species-rich wildlife corridor through the Southmead estate
Working with One Tree Per Child, to create a mosaic of different habitats and ecosystems in the valley, including a Tiny Forest in conjunction with Earthwatch.
An incredible 95 responses were received for the community consultation, 52 members of our community took the time to click through via web links and 43 members of our community were kind enough to take the time to answer the survey in person.
Question 1: How often do you use Trym Valley Open Space?
More than 75% of the respondents use the Trym Valley Open Space at least occasionally. More than 13% of respondents use the space on a daily basis.
Question 2: How do you use this space?
This was a multiple choice question, offering the choice of 5 main uses of the space and a sixth option of Other. In the Other category, 10 additional uses were identified. The hope is that the regeneration will encourage more people to make different uses of the space for their well-being, education and leisure.
|walking my dog||🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕🐕|
|walking to school/work||🏫🏫🏫🏫🏫🏫🏫🏫|
|to enjoy nature||🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳🌳|
|walking for pleasure||🚸🚸🚸🚸|
|learning about nature||🍃|
|space to think||💭|
|appreciating the view||🏞|
It is not expected that the regeneration plan would prevent or interfere long term with any of these existing uses of the space. The regeneration plan would serve to enhance the experience of residents in each use case. Follow up work is underway to capture and share the uses of this and other green spaces in Southmead.
Question 3: There is a plan for the Trym Valley Open Space to improve the site for people and wildlife by planting trees. What do you think?
The responses to the plan as a whole were mostly positive and notably there were no negative reponses to the plan as a whole.
The positive phrases and words used to describe the plan have been captured in a word cloud. The more times a word or phrase was used the larger it appears in the picture.
As the question was open ended there was an opportunity for respondents to include wider thoughts on the space as it exists now and on the regeneration plan. As a result concerns, ideas and highlights from the plan were captured as well as the overarching response to the plan.
The ideas captured in the responses to this question included the suggestion of installing a bench or benches in the space and whether the project could be replicated or extended to other areas in Southmead or along the River Trym. The installation of a bench or benches is already captured with some of the wider scope of the plan. Replicating or extending the project is outside of the existing scope but it would be great for the project to become a case study of successful implementation of these types of planting plans, and positive outcomes for the local area and community.
A number of respondents highlighted parts of the plan that they were particularly happy with, this included the orchard and it’s fruits, the varied and diverse planting and the community uses. Others highlighted their perceived outcomes of the plan, such as the attraction of more wildlife, improved air quality, a positive environmental impact and that it would be generally beneficial to local people and wildlife.
A number of respondents expressed their concerns about the area as it is now, these included flooding, the fear of unwanted housing developments, rats, overgrown areas, bindweed, fly-tipping, littering and dog fouling. Sustainable Southmead have completed several litter picks in this area and fly-tipping is being reported regularly. Some of these concerns are outside the scope of Sustainable Southmead’s remit but the consultation responses have been shared with Bristol City Council.
Others expressed their concerns about the plan, including those who feel positively about it. These concerns were for the most part around the long term success of the plan, specifically in regard to the longer term maintenance and care for the area. These concerns were addressed in the consultation documents with the plan including Keeper Teams to help design, plant and maintain the key areas. Anti-social behaviour was also flagged as a concern for the success of the tree planting as previous similar projects have suffered from vandalism, this has been taken into account in the planning. It is hoped that keeping ground cover clearance to a minimum for the tree planting should make vandalism of the new trees more difficult.
Question 4: Would you like to know more?
Most respondents wanted to be kept up to date with the project, news and opportunities from Sustainable Southmead. A fantastic 54 respondents answered that they would like to be involved and help to plant trees, a great demonstration of the support for this project.
Thank you to all the members of our local community who took valuable time out of their days to make this such an incredibly successful consultation. The number of responses really shows the level of engagement Southmead residents have with their local community and Sustainable Southmead is proud to have a part to play in that. Sustainable Southmead are incredibly pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to the regeneration plan and the enthusiasm shown in some of the responses.