5.1.1 Landscaping and planting, whilst not an operationally essential aspect of a working station, is very important in creating an attractive environment that will encourage greater use of the services provided.
5.1.2 Most railway stations, by their very nature, are open and relatively basic. The existence of carefully thought out and well maintained landscaping, including the provision of tubs, hanging baskets, window boxes and flowerbeds can counteract this impression, to the benefit of the users and the operators.
5.1.3 Equally, poor or neglected landscaping can have the opposite, detrimental effect. Hence the upkeep and maintenance of landscaped features is as vital as providing it in the first place.
5.2 General Principles
5.2.1 The level of landscaping and planting will vary at each location given the following factors:
- presence of staff and/or availability of volunteers
- location of station
- physical layout of station
- surrounding terrain eg existence of embankments, cuttings, other buildings and structures
- surrounding landscape
5.2.2 A fine example of what can be achieved is Horton-in-Ribblesdale, where the flower-beds are well stocked and tended and the grassed areas are cut regularly. This is due to the presence of a volunteer gardener.
5.2.3 Such high-maintenance landscaping, though extremely attractive, will not be practical at other locations where such regular and reliable volunteer work is not available.
5.2.4 In such instances careful consideration needs to be given to providing low maintenance plants such as low growing or dwarf shrubs that need little cutting and keep weed growth down to a minimum, (see 5.3 General Specification below).
5.2.5 Horton station also highlights the fact that landscaping has always tended to be a lottery, depending very much on the goodwill and interest of station staff and/or local volunteers.
5.2.6 In order to guarantee a consistent approach, the Design Guide advocates the formulation of a policy between the TOC and voluntary organisations to provide the finance and manpower to create and improve the landscaping at each station along the line.
5.2.7 This could be in the form of a partnership that could include other issues such as provision of information, routine maintenance and cleaning.
5.3 General Specification
5.3.1 Generally planting should be limited to trees and/or ground cover, in the absence of staff/volunteers where low maintenance is desirable.
5.3.2 If shrubs over 300mm are used care should be exercised to avoid critical sightlines being obscured and to ensure that they do not form cover for those of ill-intent. On this score trees should be selected or pruned to ensure that the lowest level of the canopy is not less than 2500mm from ground level.
5.3.3 Trees must be selected from species that do not emit sticky substances. This is especially relevant in car parks or places where seating is provided.
5.3.4 Ground cover should be dense enough to suppress weed growth but still allow for removal of litter.
5.3.5 Lawns should not normally be specified due to their high maintenance requirements. Exceptions could be considered where there are regular and reliable staff/volunteers.
5.3.6 The same consideration applies to the provision of tubs, hanging baskets and window boxes.
5.3.7 Trees require approximately 1200-1500mm depth of prepared soil. Ground cover requires approximately 300mm depth.
5.3.8 Trees should be from larger stock sizes as these are more resistant to vandalism. Where underground services have been identified, root barriers should be provided to avoid damage to such services.
5.3.9 Ground cover plants should be container grown and these should be removed on planting. Locating plants on a 300mm grid will promote rapid and dense coverage.
5.3.10 All planting areas should be supplemented with a 75mm thick layer of bark chippings to reduce weed growth. 5.3.11 Evergreen plants should be specified as this will maintain a good appearance throughout the year and discourage misuse in winter.
5.3.12 Where works are proposed in the vicinity of trees refer to BS5837-2012 which lays down procedures to avoid damage to trees.
5.3.13 Where the emphasis is on low maintenance planting, this can be reviewed in instances where regular and reliable labour is available.
5.3.14 As all stations fall within a Conservation Area, permission may be required before planting trees and, in some instances, bushes, shrubs and flowering plants. (See 6.2 Conservation Area Status)
5.4.1 It would be inappropriate for the Design Guide to be too prescriptive as to what landscaping and planting should be applied and where.
5.4.2 As a general guideline the following treatment should be considered as appropriate to the stated locations. The abbreviation (hm) relates to high maintenance locations and (lm) to low maintenance.
- Station buildings – hanging baskets and window boxes (hm).
- Platforms – flower tubs (hm). Borders and flowerbeds, where applicable, flowering plants and shrubs (hm) or evergreen low growing plants and shrubs (lm).
- Cutting or embankment slopes (where this falls within the station lease area eg at Kirkby Stephen) – grass and/or trees and shrubs (hm) or low maintenance trees and shrubs (lm).
- Other areas such as station approaches – a combination of b) and c) can be considered as appropriate.
5.4.3 Tubs, hanging baskets or flowerbeds should be not less than 2500mm from the platform edge. This location also needs to take into account maintenance requirements that must allow such work to be undertaken at a distance not less than 2500mm from the platform edge.
5.4.4 Tubs and hanging baskets should be adequately secured to prevent unauthorised movement or removal.
5.5 Tree Preservation Orders
5.5.1 Many trees, especially mature specimens, are protected by Tree Preservation Orders. The Local Planning Authority maintains a record of their locations.
5.5.2 Should a tree be considered for felling, topping or lopping reference must be made to the appropriate Local Planning Authority before such work is undertaken. Failure to do so can lead to prosecution and fines.
5.5.3 Note that there may be special restrictions pertaining to planting, pruning and felling of trees within a Conservation Area or within the setting of a listed building. There may also be restrictions on the species to be used. Similar restrictions may also apply to the planting of bushes, shrubs and even flowering plants. (See 6.2 Conservation Area Status)
5.5.4 Consent is also required for non-protected trees within a Conservation Area.