Voting begins on city wildlife garden plans

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Disused land in Sheffield city centre could be transformed into a radical new eco-park filled with wildflowers and plants - if the plans win £120,000 lottery funding in a national competition.

Sheffield University’s Love Square scheme is one of five projects shortlisted for the chance to win the lottery cash through the Grow Wild initiative, which goes to a public vote today.

Love Square seeks to put a living heart-shaped garden into the city by transforming a derelict site into a vibrant wildflower meadow teaming with wildlife.

The West Bar project has been designed by the university’s Professor Nigel Dunnett, who previously created the wildflower landscapes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

He said: “We’re hugely excited about this project, which is all about rethinking the boundaries between urban spaces and nature.

“For more than 100 years we have been weaned on the idea that urban environments that are carefully manicured are a good thing. And we’ve thought that nature is scruffy, untidy and wild. This thinking urgently needs to change.

“Love Square is a new type of ‘smart’ urban nature park - colourful, modern and strongly designed. It will lead the way in showing that it is possible to have a city space that is great for nature and the environment.”

The 2,000 square metre site will feature a series of ‘modules’ each containing different types of wildflowers.

The modules are moveable, meaning that the site can be easily replicated, re-mixed, changed or moved to other parts of the city, creating a unique and versatile space.

The Love Square blueprint also features a community café made from converted shipping containers with a wildflower green roof.

Vote for Love Square online at vote.growwilduk.com or by phone on 0808 228 7703.