Roundabout could become wildlife site
A WILDLIFE "haven" is being planned for a major roundabout in Exeter city centre – at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds.
Plans have been unveiled to upgrade the Paris Street roundabout with money that has been received from the Jury's Inn Hotel for public art in the area.
As part of the Exeter Wild City project, Devon Wildlife Trust and Exeter City Council have now teamed up in a bid to turn the roundabout into a "wildlife haven and showcase for wildlife friendly gardening".
The work will be funded through a planning contribution from the hotel of £40,000.
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Paul Osborne, environmental improvements officer for the city council, said: "Our proposal is for a high quality and dramatic landscape scheme that will transform the roundabout into an attractive landscape feature that showcases the potential for urban green spaces to benefit wildlife.
"The aim of the project is to demonstrate the potential for wildlife friendly gardens to be beautiful and low maintenance, while providing an important habitat for urban wildlife."
A public consultation on the proposed design is currently under way and will close on June 30.
Mr Osborne said the proposed landscape design could include:
A swift tower incorporating nest boxes for swifts, one of Exeter's most distinctive urban wildlife species, and homes for mini-beasts.
A dry-stone wall and wood sculptures incorporating habitats for mini-beasts and nesting birds.
Shallow stone troughs to collect rainwater to provide drinking water for birds and small animals.
Attractive and nectar-rich shrub, herbaceous and perennial planting that will demonstrate that wildlife friendly planting can be beautiful and easy to maintain.
There will be native wildflower planting, retention of existing birch and flowering plum trees. There will also be sculpted metal animals, insects and birds demonstrating the species that might live in and visit the wildlife-friendly roundabout.
Mr Osborne also said the landscape would be "low maintenance and require minimal watering."
He urged the public to view the full plans on the city council's website and submit their feedback. The matter was discussed at a meeting last week of the Newtown Community Association. who said they would like to hear more details.
Michael Parrott, of the association, said: "The general initial feeling appeared to be that wildlife sanctuaries are usually in corridors and that although wildlife havens in Exeter were a good thing, Paris Street roundabout was not a good idea.
"It was also questioned how Paris Street roundabout may change following the re-development of the bus station.
" The association felt that representation from the council coming to talk to residents at one of our next meetings would be a good idea and we will ask them to do this."
A PDF sketch plan of the proposals for the roundabout and concept swift tower designs can be viewed by visiting www.exeter.gov.uk and hard copies of the survey are also available at the civic centre.