The tree planting is the first work on the site as it begins its transformation into an Enterprise Zone aiming to bring 8000 jobs to the local area, and has been designed jointly with the local Parish Council. This first phase of planting will see over 2,250 trees and shrubs being planted along the Ermine street boundary of the site during December 2011 and January 2012. The planting will include oaks, ash, field maple, wild cherry, hawthorn and blackthorn. It will also include a range of sizes and ages of trees to ensure some instant impact, and an evolving and developing natural landscape.
The landscaping scheme has been developed and agreed with a team from the Stukeleys Parish Council, led by Sue Parkin - who is also Vice-Chairman of The Stukeleys Parish Council - with the Chair of Alconbury Parish Council, Judith Aylott, and with input from Huntingdonshire District Council and the Forestry Commission. Their inputs help ensure the design is in keeping with the local environment, and provides both an attractive landscape for local residents and a boost to wildlife.
Robin Butler, Managing Director of Urban&Civic who own the site said: “With the Enterprise Zone confirmed, the time is right to start shaping the place we know Alconbury Airfield can become. This project has been a real team effort bringing together expertise from the parish, and from district and county council landscape officers and the Forestry Commission as well as our technical team to develop a great scheme which will enhance the local area and its wildlife. We are also pleased to be able to add in a path and bridleway through the planting which will be the first of many as we roll out our plans to ensure easy access to and through the site”.
The trees will be the first work undertaken on site, and will use a mix of large, medium and small trees to create some instant impact and to enable the scheme to grow and develop as the development is rolled out.
Jonathan Djanogly said: “While the Enterprise Zone will be about hi-tech jobs, what is a real strength of the Alconbury project is that it promises to be in keeping with the landscape and communities around it and to deliver a low carbon future for businesses and residents. This is an important first step in shaping that future”.
Sue Parkin, tree warden for the Stukeleys, said: “I think it is great that the first thing that happens on the airfield is trees being planted. It will make a big difference to the village and improve the view until the security fences can come down permanently. We had strong local support for the community tree planting on the other side of the road last year, and hope to involve parishioners in a similar way in the New Year with this scheme. Planting trees is a great way to bring people together, and as this is the least wooded county in the country, it is nice to play a part in bringing over half a million trees to the local area".
Jason Ablewhite, Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: “My vision is for Alconbury to be an exemplar development – delivering new jobs within a high quality environment. New tree planting will be a key part of creating a fantastic transformed place”.