Feel the love in Sheffield’s new pop-up park

An artist's impression of Love Square pocket park, between Bridge Street and West Bar.
An artist's impression of Love Square pocket park, between Bridge Street and West Bar.
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A new ‘pop-up’ park is set to transform a neglected city centre corner, and provide a bit of greenery for everyone to enjoy.

It is hoped that ‘Love Square’ will give workers and residents in the West Bar and Bridge Street area of Sheffield a welcome haven for lunch breaks and quiet moments.

The innovative ‘pop-up’ urban eco park is largely the work of Professor Nigel Dunnett, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape.

He coordinated the design of Love Square. Its garden will combine nature and wildlife with social space for people to use all year round.

Wildflower meadows, lawns and a mini wetland lined with bird-friendly trees are being installed now, with seating areas. A green community café made from shipping containers is also planned for the site later in the year.

As most of the flora and fauna, including trees, will be in moveable containers, the park can be reconfigured in the long-term as the area around it develops and expands.

Ideas for the patch of land were first mooted two years ago, when the project was shortlisted for lottery funding from the Grow Wild organisation.

Love Square just missed out on the cash, but this time the University of Sheffield teamed up with developers Urbo Regeneration and Sheffield City Council to make it a reality.

Professor Nigel Dunnett, who previously created the world-famous landscapes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with Professor James Hitchmough, said: “There was such interest that we decided we would forge ahead. I’m delighted we’ve been able to make this happen and in some ways it makes it more satisfying that we have done it ourselves.”

Love Square has been funded by the University’s City Office, Alumni and Grow Wild. The project complements Sheffield City Council’s Grey to Green project, transforming Sheffield’s Riverside Business District, with the University of Sheffield also involved.