In February 2023, the town council adopted a Climate Action Plan. Within the plan, is a stated commitment towards reducing the council’s carbon footprint and to assessing the impact of decisions and actions on the environment. With this in mind, management of town council gardens strives to create a balance between promoting and supporting biodiversity and creating spaces which are attractive to residents and visitors alike.
One of the ways in which biodiversity can be supported is by moving away from short-lived, annual and biannual plants towards more pollinator-friendly and longer-lived planting. Not only is this consistent with the council’s recently adopted Climate Action Plan but it is also in line with advice received from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The Trust surveyed town council managed sites and prepared a Habitat Management Recommendations report, which is available to view on our website. Initiatives being introduced at town council gardens and open spaces are undertaken in line with guidance in the report.
Residents will notice that the appearance of some aspects of the gardens is changing while this process is implemented. Turf recently laid at East Cross will need time to bed-in and while it was unfortunate that on delivery the turf was found to be quite brown in places, it is expected to grow and thrive. A hexagonal raised bed is planned for the central tree, which will be filled with plants to attract butterflies and other insects, with plants chosen to maintain and provide pollen for a period of months rather than weeks. In the Millennium Garden, the pergola had rotted and was removed on safety grounds. This area is in the process of being planted with habitats for wildlife created to ensure they can thrive without disturbance. Climbers will be introduced to soften the appearance of the area and to have visual impact. Other changes that may be noticed are that fallen leaves are left on beds for longer than was previously the case in order to create habitats and hiding places for insects.
While the establishment of new planting will take time, this new approach is already having a positive impact. There is evidence of slow worms, bugs, insects and other wildlife enjoying the Millennium Garden and ground cover is being established in areas where previously there was bare soil. As an example, cyclamens which had looked tired and sparse in recent years are now thriving.
As further developments occur and progress is made, residents will be kept up to date through posts to the news page of the town council’s website.