- 15 October 2012
Parks, gardens and trees are a 'vital part' of what makes a town centre inviting to visitors yet are often overlooked, according to new government guidelines for town planners. The guidelines are part of the government's drive to revitalise town centres in the wake of an independent review by retail marketing consultant Mary Portas last year in which she said high streets have reached crisis point and need urgent reform.
Among recommendations are the use of community growing projects in otherwise neglected spaces to 'turn eyesores into attractions', and the planting of 'pocket parks' and wildflower meadows on vacant sites awaiting development.
Redesigning public space to include parks and gardens could have economic impacts too, the report suggests, pointing out that research has shown people who walk to their local high street spend more and in a wider range of shops than visitors arriving by car, bus or bike.
'Attractive features such as planting, waterways and pocket parks along the route to the high street or town centre can help make walking and cycling a pleasant alternative to driving,' the report says.