Love Square lies at the heart of the Grey to Green plan: a large-scale exciting project in Sheffield that will transform 1.3 kilometres of redundant inner city dual carriage way into a linear green route for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport.  There will be nothing else like it in the country, and it shows a positive way forward: giving streets back to people that were once dominated by the car, and making a continuous greenway through a British inner city.

One of the most exciting aspects of the scheme is that the green elements are designed to reduce flood risk into the future: this whole area was subject to devastating flooding in 2007.  The planted strips are all ‘bioswales’ and ‘rain gardens’ and will capture rainwater runoff after severe storms.

Love Square will be the social hub of this visionary scheme, creating a beautiful meeting and gathering space, a café kiosk, and the green heart to the Riverside District of the city.  It will be unique in that it will bring wildflowers and nature into a city centre pocket park.

The Grey to Green project is led by Sheffield City Council and concerns the public highway.  Love Square is on private land next to the highway and does not qualify for the Grey to Green funding.  It is essential that we win the public vote to gain the Grow Wild funding that will allow us to create Love Square.

The Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield is a main partner in the project and is responsible for the design and specification of the landscape plantings.  Nigel Dunnett and James Hitchmough, working with City landscape architect Zac Tudor, have developed the plant mixes for the bioswales, rain gardens and perennial strips.  In addition, Nigel Dunnett’s students have developed visualisations for the project that have been an essential part of the public consultation and promotion of the scheme within the city, and for the funding application process.

Nigel Dunnett is leading the Love Square project, and said ‘We hope Love Square will inspire other cities to do similar things.  Love Square will be an important and well-loved open space alongside the linear grey to green scheme.  We need this sort of public realm and urban landscape initiative to become the norm in cities across the country.  Vote for Love Square so that we can show a new way to plan and design our towns and cities’.

‘We can not emphasise enough that Love Square and Grey to Green have huge economic benefits as well as great environmental and social benefits.  By providing a highly attractive setting for new investment and businesses we will contribute to new jobs and economic activity.  We have to have to give much greater priority to the economic benefits of high quality city gardens, greening and the public realm.’

More information about the Grey to Green project can be found at:

https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/planning-and-city-development/regeneration/grey-to-green.html

Below you can see the view into West Bar, Sheffield, along the route of the Grey to Green linear route – and next to it a visualisation for the same view, produced by the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield, showing perennial plantings, rain gardens and bioswales