History of the Street Trees
Early records confirm that as early as 1860, when the population was 4,613, a public meeting in the town called for trees to be planted in the streets of Helensburgh.
A major phase of planting was initiated in 1910, the driving force being a councillor, Dr. J. Ewing Hunter. There followed planned planting of street trees for the next 60 years with records of the work undertaken. Planting by the council continued in post war housing developments.
When the town council ceased to exist in 1975, due to the reorganisation of local government, the neglect of the trees appear to date from that point. By 2001 many street trees had reached maturity or passed their prime, leading for a need for remedial action and a renewal programme.
In 2002 three local residents, Sandy Kerr, Sheila Wilson and Bill Yule founded the Trust to promote the maintenance, conservation and sustainable management of the tree scape of Helensburgh for the public benefit.
A professional survey was commissioned and 1,829 street trees were recorded and a management plan was prepared by Donald Roger Associates.
A renewal programme started and over the following 10 years over 1000 trees were planted by the trust. The planting was carried out by contractors with work parties of members and volunteers confined to removal of small dead trees, weeding and maintenance of new trees.
Membership of the Trust cost £10 and at present there are 278 members and 10 directors, as the Trust is a limited company as well as a Scottish charity.
The trees were resurveyed in 2016 and a new management plan prepared, then in July 2017 we were invited to become a member of The National Tree Collections of Scotland, notably the only urban tree collection.
Funding has been raised by members subscriptions, grants from Argyll & Bute Council and recently, a Waitrose Conservation Award while tree protection guards have been sponsored by The Woodland Trust as part of their National Street Trees Project.
Funding will continue to be a major problem with increasing local government cuts.
We are now preparing a 5 year Operational Plan with 6 main objectives.
- To maintain and improve the area of street trees in Helensburgh, planting a minimum of 60 new trees a year and removing a minimum of 30 poor trees a year.
- To develop partnerships with NTCS, Argyll & Bute Council, Luss Estates and the Woodland Trust to improve the management of the street trees.
- To develop a detailed list of suitable street trees for the town.
- To develop a funding plan to achieve the key aims and objectives.
- To identify and enhance the economic, environmental and social vale of the street trees collection.
- To promote the value of the street trees heritage both locally and nationally.
We hope that using itree will help to achieve these aims.