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Review of gardens scheme planned
THE leader of Salisbury City Council has ordered a review into the way a £400,000 revamp at Queen Elizabeth Gardens has been carried out.
Andrew Roberts said many of the city councillors were dissatisfied with the progress of the work and want to know if it could have been done better or quicker. The revamp, which began last November, was due to have been completed in March this year but was hit by flooding and snow. Salisbury City Council parks manager Chris Stringer said the resurfacing of footpaths and new brickwork, carried out by the Hampshire-based company Scandor, was now complete with the council’s gardening team currently planting shrubs and perennials. He said: “The surplus aggregate, which has been causing some concern among local residents, has now been swept away from the paths.
“When you have this sort of finish you put on more aggregate than you think you’ll need so as much as possible binds with the tarmac underneath and then you brush it off, which is what we’ve done. “It’s going to look a bit sparse in areas as the plants become established but there will be further planting in the winter and early spring as plants become available.”
He added: “It is a big change for the park - the planting scheme is new and exciting and once it’s established I think people will be pleased with the different foliage, textures and colours.”
The revamp seeks to make the gardens more accessible to everyone and among the changes are a new entrance, a rose garden, more flower beds and a new feature display. Most of the footpaths have also been resurfaced with some of the narrow paths widened and, for the first time, a footpath laid to and from the children’s play area.
Cllr Roberts said that while the revamp would prompt different views among residents, some of the problems with the park had been identified in the public consultations that began six years ago. He said: “I visit the gardens almost every day and don't like all of it myself, but in a park designed to suit the varying needs of thousands of visitors, I don't expect to.
“A natural look to complement the water meadows is desirable, but we must also meet the practical needs of a popular city centre park accessible to all. Once the planting is complete and has grown to maturity, I believe that we will have achieved a good blend of both. The rising number of users suggests that many others already think so.” On Monday city councillor Sven Hocking received an update on the works at the gardens ahead of the review.
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