27 September 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork County Council’s ambitious new Framework Plan for Mallow Castle, Town Park and Spa House, includes proposals for native tree and hedge planting, a new Multi-Use Events Area, widening of pathways, angling stands, a pump track for bicycles, a skate park and pocket playground, a new gateway entrance, training pitch, parking facilities and reinforced grass parking for events.
In advance of these developments and as part of the Framework Plan, a review of existing trees was undertaken by an independent Tree Arborist. The report found the overall condition of the non-native, mature Monterey Cypress trees, surrounding the playing field in Mallow Town Park to be poor, with many exhibiting die-back associated with Coryneum Canker. Compounding this, a large number of the Cypress trees sustained significant storm damage to branching in the tree crowns and remain vulnerable to further damage in future storms.
A further review carried out by a second independent Tree Arborist was carried out this month which also recommended the removal of the remaining trees surrounding the playing field. A significant number were removed in recent months due to imminent safety concerns and the standing trees left are vulnerable to further branch breakage and wind-throw if exposed to severe storm conditions. The park is well used by the public and this presents risk of physical injury.
Cork County Council have already planted more than 18,000 native trees, a combination of oak, birch, beech and Scots pine in the Lower Castle Park area of Mallow Town Park along with significant hawthorn and beech hedging and extensive planting for biodiversity as part of the development of Mallow Castle, Town Park and Spa House.
The vast amount of planting of native species in the park and surroundings carried out by the Council will strongly support biodiversity while increasing the amenity value of the park overall. Along with the 18000 native trees, 300 biodiversity plants and 134 Yew trees have been planted with four wildflower meadows with local school children having planted in excess of 5000 crocus bulbs.
The Framework Plan is due to be submitted for Planning to An Bord Pleanála in the fourth quarter of 2020.