A campaign has been launched in Sheffield to create an urban oasis on the derelict site of a former bus station in the city centre.
Plans to create Love Square, an “eco-park” filled with wildflowers and plants, will compete with proposals from other cities in the UK for a £120,000 grant in a public vote which launches today.
The University of Sheffield is spearheading the bid to transform land at the bottom of Snig Hill, near to the former Castle Market site. It is designed to complement the city council’s Grey to Green regeneration scheme, which will transform nearly a mile of a redundant dual carriageway nearby into a green cycle and pedestrian route.
The half-acre site will feature a series of modules with each containing different types of wildflowers and edible and productive plants. Its heart-shaped garden design was conceived by Professor Nigel Dunnett from the university’s department of landscape, who was behind the wildflower landscapes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.
He said: “This project is all about rethinking the boundaries between urban spaces and nature. For more than 100 years we have been weaned on the idea that pristine urban environments that are carefully manicured are a good thing. And we’ve thought that nature is scruffy, untidy and wild. This thinking urgently needs to change.
“Love Square is colourful, modern and strongly designed. It will lead the way in showing that it is possible to have a city space that is great for nature and the environment, but which is also fun, contemporary and forward-looking.
“In a way I see this project as a real part of the Olympic legacy which I am proud to play a part in.”
The national competition, dubbed Grow Wild, is being led by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and supported by the Big Lottery Fund. Sheffield residents are being encouraged to show their support by voting online at www.growwilduk.com or via telephone before the November 4 deadline.