Latest News | 7 June 2022

Market Place to be transformed into woodland wonderland

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Derby City Council has announced that hundreds of trees and shrubs will be installed in Derby’s Market Place to create an ‘Urban Forest’ attraction.

From the end of June, the Market Place will be transformed into a woodland wonderland bringing a new, vibrant space for al-fresco dining and summer outdoor events, which will be promoted by Derby LIVE.

More than 500 trees and shrubs will be installed, with a clearing created and picnic benches provided for city centre visitors to use for al-fresco dining.

There will also be space for a stage so that the clearing can be used as a performance area.

Councillor Jerry Pearce, the city council’s cabinet member for Streetpride, leisure and public spaces, said: “The Urban Forest will bring a whole range of benefits to our city.

“In the short term, it will boost visitors to our city centre in much the same way that our Market Place offer did last summer.

“Longer-term, it will support the recovery of our economy and support our ambitious Green City targets.”

The space will be free to access for residents and made available to cultural partners to host events.

It will be just one of four Urban Forests in the UK this summer and the only one in the East Midlands.

The Urban Forest has been designed and will be installed by Scotscape, which has created urban greening solutions across the globe, most recently at COP26 in Glasgow and the Forest for Change at Somerset House.

Installation at the Market Place is due to start on Monday 20 June with the Urban Forest officially opening on Saturday 25 June. It will be in place for six weeks, until Saturday 29 August.

After this, the trees and shrubs will be re-homed in a city park to recapture the design, as part of the ongoing Queen’s Green Canopy project.

Earlier this year, Derby was given ‘Champion City’ status in recognition of the city’s commitment to the Queen’s Green Canopy project.

It is hoped that the Urban Forest will raise further awareness of climate change and the need to increase biodiversity in urban areas as part of the city council’s Green Derby agenda.

As part of this, Down To Earth will be helping residents get to grips with urban greening and biodiversity through a series of pop-up potting sheds across the city centre.

The idea for an Urban Forest on the Market Place was dreamed up by city council grounds maintenance officer Karl Smith.

He said: “I’m really proud to be helping bring this event to our city. It gives a vision that urban planting in city centres can create a more vibrant and enjoyable environment.”

Angus Cunningham, founder and chief executive of Scotscape, said: “It will bring an immediate oasis of green and an increase in biodiversity to the Market Place but more importantly, the trees, as we have with our other urban forest projects, will eventually be planted in a local park to carry on their good work.”

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