Nature is at the heart of the new scheme. It aims to achieve a biodiversity net gain of 20 per cent, meaning that it will positively support wildlife in the city centre.
It is proposed there will be a total of 202 trees in the North of Armada Way (between Royal Parade and North Cross Roundabout) compared to 153 before the felling this year. In addition to this scheme, we are currently working on plans for a separate new urban-forest project (a small, dense patch of trees planted closely together). This would be an additional 147 trees planted in the south of Armada Way (outside the Crowne Plaza) and would form part of the new administration’s pledge to increase tree canopy cover across the city centre. Detailed information regarding the proposed urban-forest outside the Crowne Plaza will be published when this project is further developed.
Following the regeneration, should both projects be delivered, there will be total of 349 trees on Armada Way.
All the trees when planted will be at a height of between 3.5 to 8 metres (or 11 to 27 feet) and will be selected for their suitability for an urban landscape. They will grow significantly over time.
The table below shows the estimated heights of the trees when first planted.
Minimum height of trees on planting (metres and inches)
How many new trees will be this height when first planted?
3m / 10ft
4m / 13ft
4.5m / 15ft
5m / 16.5ft
6.5m / 21.5ft
7-8m / 23 - 26ft
The table below shows the estimated heights of the trees when fully grown.
Estimated height of the new trees when they are fully grown (metres and inches)
How many of the new trees will be this height when fully grown?
4m / 13ft
7m / 23ft
8m / 26ft
9m / 30ft
12m / 40ft
14m / 46ft
15m / 50ft
16m / 52ft
18m / 59ft
17-22m / 56-72ft
Following feedback from local environmental groups, we are looking at a diverse mix of UK native and ornamental trees. The species have been carefully selected for their resilience to disease and climate change, they are also less likely to suffer in future from stress and sporadic growth from the base of the trunk. Trees with foliage to ground level have not been used to allow better views and sightlines through the scheme. They include Field Maple, Alder, Gold and Himalayan Birch, Scots Pine, Love Tree, Turkish Hazel, Maidenhair Ginkgo, Hornbeam Carpinus, Callery Pear Pyrus, Cockspur Hawthorn, Silver Lime, Elm, Silver Birch, Stone Pine, and Norway Maple. We propose to celebrate the trees that we plant and install small plaques with information about each species.
You can see more information about the trees we are proposing to plant and their benefits to the environment and nature in the presentation at the bottom of this page.
We want the new scheme to benefit nature as much as we can, which is why we want to add more trees and beneficial greenery than were in Armada Way before. In addition to the trees and shrubs, wildflowers will be planted to encourage pollinators like bees. Bug hotels and bird boxes will also be installed throughout to encourage wildlife. Reed beds will provide much-needed natural filtration for the water being recirculated from the drainage system, so that chemicals don’t have to be used. This water will maintain the trees and plants, in addition to filling the shallow stream running down the scheme.
We have been working with our Street Services team on an enhanced maintenance scheme for the planting and hard surfaces. The trees that we will select, coupled with the fact they will be watered through the sustainable drainage system, should mean they require less maintenance.
We understand the depth of feeling surrounding the previous decision to fell the trees, so we are committed to keeping as many of the existing trees as possible. We are NOT proposing to fell any further live trees on Armada Way.
The 16 trees in the Piazza will remain and be enhanced with their ground conditions improved. There will be 11 existing trees remaining in and around the proposed play area, with two further trees to be retained and integrated into the design near the underground toilets.
However, we are proposing to move (translocate) six trees to enable the installation of the new sustainable urban drainage system, which is much needed to deal with the city centre’s rainwater, prevent flooding incidents and help keep our sea cleaner. Some of the trees are also situated on the route of the proposed 12-metre-wide cycling and pedestrian route through the centre, which plays a critical role in opening up the vista to the Hoe.
Unfortunately, one of the trees on Armada Way (the Willow in the hoarded off compound next to the Copthorne Hotel) has died. The tree was midway through being felled earlier this year, when work was halted due to the injunction. Our independent arboriculturist has carried out an assessment and confirmed that the tree has died and there is no chance of recovery. In addition, it has now become d
estabilised and the Council has been advised to remove the tree with immediate effect. As the tree is covered by the legal injunction, the Council has petitioned the court to ask permission to remove the tree, as it is now considered a health and safety risk.
This is the relocation of a living tree – including the roots and the soil around it – moving it from one location to another.
It is generally carried out during the dormant period for trees following their leaf fall in November and involves the excavation and transportation of the tree, complete with its root ball using specialist machinery.
The tree and its root ball are protected during transport, taking particular care not to allow the roots to dry out or get damaged.
The tree and root ball are then placed in a previously-prepared pit slightly bigger than the size of the root ball, the tree aligned to its original north–south orientation and planted to its original depth with supportive compost and additives.
The tree is then guyed to keep it stable in its new location, allowing the new roots to grow and secure it in its new home. The tree is then subject to an intensive care regime, which includes regular watering, weeding and other attention to ensure it performs well in its new home.
Two are currently located within the hoarded off compound next to the Copthorne Hotel and Armada Centre; a Cockspur Thorn and a Sorbus. A further Sorbus is located inside the contractor compound, there are two Maples outside the entrance to the Knowledge Hub and a Silver Maple tree outside the former Pound World shop.
The trees will be translocated and replanted at the new arboretum that is being created at The Park in Plympton. Once there, they will receive significant care and support by expert horticulturalists to ensure the best chance of survival.
For the best chance of survival, translocated trees should be planted in an open green space within a deep pit, surrounded by high quality soil, to help the roots bed in. It is less stressful for a translocated tree if it is located in a natural environment, rather than a harsh urban one. In addition, to stabilise translocated trees in their new homes requires ‘guys’ (ropes to anchor the trees to the ground). This makes the footprint of each tree very large and is a trip hazard for pedestrians and cyclists.
Because of the reasons highlighted above, if we do not translocate the six trees then this proposed scheme is not possible.
Translocation is a complex process which is not undertaken lightly and it carries some risk of failure. It is however sometimes used as a tool to move trees away from harm, such as locations subject to development or to correct the location of a tree from being in the wrong place.
With the site area measuring some 24,550m2 we’ve calculated the following areas of greenery:
This reduction (circa 163m2) is as a direct result of the increased scale of the play area.
Once the final design has been approved, a construction method statement will be prepared, along with all the other contractual documents required. These will take into account the remaining trees and any legal restrictions in place at the time.
Over the past few months the Council has been working with external environmental consultants, including a qualified arboriculturist, to develop a detailed translocation plan. The plan looks at each of the individual trees in greater depth, in relation to the proposed design – including the impact of the SuDs scheme and cycle path on the trees. On the 8 November 2023, a final report was received by the Council and it was agreed to publish the document as additional supplementary information as part of the current consultation. It includes a schematic plan with further explanation for the reasons for the proposed translocation of the individual trees. You can find the report at the bottom of this page.
The aim is to make Armada Way a greener and nature friendly space.
For more information on translocation and the Armada Way Tree Translocation Assessment, please read the documents found at the bottom of this page.
Click 'Next' (bottom right) to view a diagram showing where we propose the trees will be on Armada Way.
The image below shows where we propose the trees will be on Armada Way.
You can download this document, to be viewed more clearly, by clicking on the PDF document at the bottom of this page.