Grey to Green first phase gets finishing touches

Nigel Dunnett with the Grey to Green team

The first phase of the Grey to Green Corridor, an exciting project - involving staff and students from the Department of Landscape - to transform Sheffield’s Riverside Business District is nearing completion.

The £3.6m scheme aims to transform 1.2 kilometres of redundant roads into attractive new linear public spaces. The scheme, which runs from West Bar, near the Magistrate’s Court, through Castlegate to Exchange Street, will feature the longest retro-fit sustainable urban drainage system (SUDS) in the UK, innovative perennial meadows, rain gardens and public art. So far, around half of the work has been completed.

The Department of Landscape’s Professor Nigel Dunnett is leading the University’s involvement in the scheme, which is a collaboration between Sheffield City Council, the University of Sheffield, Amey and Robert Bray Associates.

Masters and level 3 undergraduate students in Nigel's ecological design studio projects in 2014 have gained first-hand experience of real-life projects, through helping to create many of the visuals for the scheme.

Professor Dunnett, said: "the Grey to Green project in Sheffield’s Riverside District is one of the most ambitious and visionary urban landscape projects in the country, further boosting Sheffield’s credentials as a green city.”

“We are proud to bring our support and technical expertise to help make this a truly ground-breaking example to other cities in the UK, whilst also providing exciting opportunities for our students to become involved with real-life innovative and cutting-edge planning and design projects.”

Planting of trees, shrubs and bulbs has now commenced around Snig Hill and Bridge St and the first two of five art features have been added. The art works, which resemble modern totem poles, reveal some of the area’s colourful and unexpected history. The 4.2m high poles, which are made from stone and metal, incorporate the stories of local people.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development said: “the new artwork features will provide the finishing touches to enhance this project in the Riverside area. The project will create an attractive setting for existing and new investment and jobs, an improvement in the city’s resilience to climate change as well as an enhanced public realm and connectivity of the area with the rest of the City Centre.”

“It also shows off new forms of partnership with the University of Sheffield by sharing expertise to solve problems in an innovative way.”

Phase 1 of the scheme started in April 2015. Funding came from the new Sheffield City Region Investment Fund (SCRIF) - the first project to be funded from this pot - and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Phase 2 of the project, which will encompass the area between Castlegate and Exchange Street, is due to begin it’s planning stage in 2016, subject to funding.

More information on the Grey to Green project can be found here.