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Extra trees and plants to be erected on Leek public realm

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

  • The public realm area at the bottom of Derby Street as it is now. Below, the original artist's impression.

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TREES and plants along with poles to support hanging baskets and banners to advertise events are to be erected in Leek's new 'public realm' area to make it look greener.

The Moorlands Partnership Board, which is run by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, has approved a grant of £14,000 for enhancement work to be completed at the bottom of Derby Street, opposite the Nicholson War Memorial.

The space was created as part of road works connected to Sainsbury's redevelopment of the Churnet Works in Macclesfield Road, and is partly on the site of the town's former roundabout.

Similar improvements will also be made further up Derby Street, where additional road works are currently taking place.

A report by executive director Dai Larner said: "The scheme was originally designed to include a greater amount of tree planting and soft landscaping, but some locations were found to be unsuitable due to underground services.

"In addition, the overall cost of the project has exceeded funds available.

"It is now proposed that the Moorlands Partnership Board supplements the scheme's budget by providing three granite planters, each supporting a heavy standard semi-mature tree in the first completed phase of the scheme, and three granite planters in the second phase of the scheme currently on site.

"It is also proposed for four cast iron posts designed to take hanging baskets and/or display banners alongside the A53 carriageway to be erected."

Council leader Sybil Ralphs said the current streetscape did not tally with the original design.

She said: "We have to look at bringing more greenery into the scheme. In my opinion what is there now looks unfinished.

"The flower beds can be improved as at the moment they are not a floral feature. More work is needed. We need the green up the town and also to get it look like the original design."

Leek Town mayor John Fisher said: "The area desperately needs some green and trees will help.

"The maintenance of the plants and area has not been good, but I now understand the district council has now taken over the care."

District and town councillor Barry Cowie said: "Over the last 18 months I have been disappointed with the plants.

"They need to be raised in the present location so they can be seen. It has been a bad job."

Councillor Andrew Hart said: " When you do a project it does not always turn out exact. There have been a few disappointments. This will enhance the project and I am happy to support it."

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