Project_Documents_files/PPS FULL JULY 140



Project_Documents_files/PPS FULL JULY 140
scott farlow +
antony lyons
July 2009
People, Places and Spaces: This document is in three parts. Part One (The Context +
Identity) contains a review of the community aspirations (people), and localities
(places and spaces), as explored in early 2009, and by many others over the past
decade; Part Two presents the strategic vision - including opportunities for
participation in delivery; Part Three provides a flavour of the design solutions that
can emerge from the broad vision.
1.1: Introduction
1.2: Background + Policy Context
1.3: Project Brief + Approach
1.4: Physical Context
1.5: Natural Environment
1.6: Contemporary Visual Character
1.7: Cultural + Historical Identity
1.8: Site Explorations
1.9: Community Engagement
1.10: Context + Identity - A Summary
Connecting People, Places, Spaces - ‘Green Ribbons’
Green Ribbons - On The Map
Green Ribbon Settings - Introduction
Green Ribbon Settings - Images
Green Ribbon Settings - Proposals for specific locations
Delivery - Opportunities, Participation and Ownership
Palettes - Materials
Palettes - Colour, Lighting, Planting
Example Project - Parson Cross Park Entrance
Temporary/Ephemeral Projects
Annex A: Community Engagement
Annex B: Additional Example Projects
Annex C: Sustainable Drainage
Annex D: Project Promotion
Annex E: Existing Streetscene Character Palettes
Part 1 describes the building blocks, the foundations that can underpin place-making or renewal. It is a collection and a
snap-shot of all that is woven together to form the neighbourhoods of Parson Cross and Foxhill. This is recommended
reading for designers, developers and planners. It can also be a useful reference point for related community and
education projects as well as creative activities. Most importantly, the ‘context’ that is presented in Part 1 leads naturally
to Part 2, informing a vision for public space in the area.
Part 2 is primarily about possibilities and potential. It seeks to harness the inherent qualities of the area - the people,
places and spaces - and in doing so, provides a framework and an inspiration for any number of local initiatives. These
may range from the design, layout or boundaries of a new housing area to small shared community herb gardens. All can
be accommodated within the concept - that of ribbons, and threads, of connected green spaces and green streets. These
are equally relevant as greenways, and as sites for activity and intervention - whether temporary or enduring. Part 2 is
therefore the ‘heart’ of the vision, and contains a wealth of suggestions and pointers for participation and delivery. As
with Part 1, these are aimed at a wide audience; they are relevant to designers, local interest groups, regeneration
professionals and local residents.
Cover photo supplied by a member
of the Area Wide Youth Parliament
Part 3 provides an early insight into the application of the strategic vision to the design of a chosen public space - the
entrance zone of Parson Cross Park - illustrating how the vision can bring about change in real local situations.
Context and Identity
The purpose of this document is to set out a vision for the public spaces in
Parson Cross and Foxhill - celebrating connections, nature, walking, meeting
points, local journeys, local food and green enterprise. It is a vision of a
‘Garden City of the 21st Century’, one that responds to the social and
environmental issues of our time: health, well-being, quality of life, nature
protection, clean air/water, and creative opportunities for everyone. The
symbolism used to communicate this vision is ‘Green Ribbons’, representing
the linked-up parks and green spaces. A great deal of support and working
in partnership will be needed to achieve real tangible results. Proposals for
delivery, participation, and for re-designing spaces, are outlined in detail in
Parts 2 and 3 of this document. With sustained commitment from all
concerned, the vision can continue to grow and flourish over time.
”To create garden city neighbourhoods for the 21st century that will
rival the best in the city in terms of quality, environmental
sustainability, character and management “
North Sheffield Vision, Area Development Framework 2005
Parson Cross and Foxhill have suffered from many years of physical and social
decline. Now, after long processes of planning and community involvement, a
number of new development schemes are underway, and there is a desire to
revive, and to some extent, re-invent these unique neighbourhoods. The changes
will include a new library, supermarket, primary care Health Centres, housing
developments and artist/business studios. What is presented here is something
else - not a plan for a housing scheme or other development, but an in-depth look
at the possibilities for the spaces in-between. The aims are:
» to involve local people
» to find ways to bind the developments together,
» to reinforce a sense of identity and local distinctiveness,
» to boost adaptability to the future
» for these places to be unique but not isolated, and
» to design exciting, accessible, legible and walkable urban spaces, attracting
people and encouraging activity.
Why do we need a ‘vision’ for the open spaces in Parson Cross and Foxhill?
The vitality of a place, and the well-being of the community, is inseparable from
the success of the public spaces. We therefore offer tangible ways to unite and
bind the neighbourhoods; to retain their identities yet allow them to feel
connected; to reinforce Parson Cross and Foxhill as places of strong community,
with a sense of safety, pride and collective investment in the future. The ideas
outlined are not just about the physical design of spaces, but also the processes
by which these changes can be achieved, and residents’ active participation in the
places where they live. Important too is the need to challenge and change
negative perceptions of Parson Cross and Foxhill by those who live outside the
areas, and the need to attract new residents.
How has the ‘People, Places and Spaces’ vision been created?
Over the years, local residents have expressed their views as part of the neighbourhood
strategies and masterplans. Building on these, we have held workshops, carried out walks and
initiated photographic recording projects. These approaches have been used to help develop a
sustainable vision that is an expression of community aspirations and the potential of the
physical surroundings. Approaching the project from an artistic standpoint has allowed for a
period of immersion; gauging reactions, translating previous work, galvanising interest in the
inter-relationship between the emerging developments and the connections to the wider
context of life in the neighbourhoods. The information from the workshops has enabled us to
come up with proposals that put these neighbourhoods ‘on the map’ - for all the right reasons and reveal their hidden or obscured qualities. In Part 3 of the document, we present some early
opportunities to bring the vision to fruition; including the creation of a re-designed entrance
area for Parson Cross Park; and works connected with the new Chaucer Buchanan Square.
"Creativity, in all its forms is imperative to the successful development of a
city. It is the many forms of creativity and how these can be harnessed today
that can allow us to go beyond inherited assumptions and ways of working"
Prue Chiles, Sheffield University
Local identity informs the vision
Along with being close-knit communities, the special characteristics of Parson Cross and
Foxhill include qualities such as views, nature, exposure, vitality, pathways, distinctive
streetscapes and much more. This is the urban edge; on these hillsides the city meets the
countryside; this is the essence of the local character. In Part 2, all aspects of the context and
dialogues have been embraced in order to mould the vision, which has the central unifying
idea of ‘Green Ribbons’ - walking routes that tie the areas together, combining greenspaces
with new-look streetscapes. The ‘Green Ribbons’ play host to a set of distinct ‘settings’ which
have emerged from research and engagement:
» Nature/water/woodland areas,
» Food-growing/orchard areas,
» Green streets/gateways,
» Viewing points/art spaces.
“Sheffield is the greenest city in Britain, proud of its rich variety of open spaces”
Sheffield Green and Open Spaces Strategy (Draft, 2008)
Green Ribbons in the context of ‘Sheffield - A Green City’
Increasingly this is a city famed for ecological design, linear park corridors, and initiatives that
aim to bring nature and food growing back into the city. These efforts can help respond to
climate change, improve quality of life and help deliver sustainable development. Multipurpose green spaces and pathways also provide many other benefits for neighbourhoods;
creating a positive image for both new and existing residents; supporting ecology/wildlife;
integrating green areas into new development; promoting health and well-being. The garden
city ideal is about networks - fingers of living, green spaces permeating everywhere, ecology
areas next to houses, landscapes that celebrate, and don’t shun, the natural environment.
Scott Farlow and Antony Lyons,
July 2009
Background + Policy Context
Neighbourhood Strategies for all of Southey Owlerton were completed in 2002. These were followed by
the production of neighbourhood masterplans identifying a number of demonstration projects – the key
physical projects that taken together could transform the area: redevelopment sites; community hub
buildings; neighbourhood centres; parks and green spaces and quality of streets. There were some
themes that are important to all of the neighbourhoods and others that are specific. Common aspirations
include: joining the green spaces and key routes to centres of community activity, using buildings to
make the area visible to the rest of the city, reflecting the identity of each particular neighbourhood, and
using a green web-network to support local facilities and enterprises. Five ‘big ideas’ have emerged from
past engagement work in Southey Owlerton:
- Park City: reflecting the area’s green spaces.
- See and Be Seen: reflecting the internal views and outward views.
- Identity from Landform: reflecting the local topography.
- From City to Country and Back Again: walks and routes.
- Green Arteries: parks and open spaces as drivers for development.
In the next few years, Parson Cross will see the arrival of a revitalised ‘district centre’, including a new library,
public square and supermarket. Close by will be the new housing developments of Falstaff and Adlington,
whilst further afield there are plans for artist studios and business premises at Knutton Road. The masterplan
objectives for Parson Cross build upon the vision and priorities established in the Neighbourhood Strategy.
Some of the key elements in the masterplans (Old and New Parson Cross) included:
> To develop Buchanan Road as the main neighbourhood spine, with avenue trees and street improvements,
and to make similar improvements to Adlington Road and Deerlands Avenue.
> To redesign green space throughout the area to provide more local green areas.
> Extending green pedestrian links.
> Public spaces that relate to the surroundings, encouraging activity to extend into the spaces from buildings.
> Street trees and other street elements should be used to complement enclosure of buildings.
> Incidental space and local focal points at street junctions and other key points in the housing layout. These
help guide people through the area, aiding orientation and reinforcing sense of place.
> Distinctive street furniture and public art can contribute to the character and life of the public realm: such
elements need to be designed in a coordinated way to avoid clutter.
> Enhance public access to features and green spaces, and highlight views to surrounding areas.
> Use of local materials, colours, crafts within designs to reinforce local character.
> Landmarks and vistas help orientation and create visual links both within and outside the area.
> Strong corners create local landmarks, emphasise choice of routes and add interest.
> Other incidental spaces occur, e.g. Falstaff Area street intersections , suitable for meeting and sitting.
> Parson Cross Park entrance to be opened up onto Buchanan Road with a pedestrian avenue aligned with
the redesigned junction/square on Southey Green Road.
Some further aspirations for Parson Cross, as stated in the Parson Cross Development Forum Community
Action Plan: encourage everyone to participate in healthy and enjoyable physical exercise; promote the Three
Parks and the green links; identify new spaces for safe play near to where families live, and maintain existing
spaces; protect green spaces, especially Tongue Gutter, Colley Park and Parson Cross Park; develop a new sports
centre and facilities for Colley Park; encourage schools to open their facilities for the community; enable local
people to have access to arts and culture; promote creativity; commission Public Art at the main gateways into
the neighbourhood.
“There is an air of expectation in North Sheffield.
Local people continue to be engaged in a
meaningful process of planning for the future of
their neighbourhoods. A significant community
momentum has gathered to address the goal of
achieving a positive and lasting change. The
Southey Owlerton Neighbourhood Strategies
have met with critical acclaim, receiving a
national award from the Guardian/ IPPR in 2003
in recognition of the high quality of community
Sheffield Local Development Framework, 2009
The main changes underway in Foxhill are the development of sites for new housing, the improvement of
Foxhill Park, a new PCT (Primary Care Trust) Health Centre and the creation of a pedestrian link from the
Foxhill Park to Back Edge, an area of countryside on the edge of the neighbourhood. With impressive views
of both the city and countryside, the regeneration will stitch together public spaces with new local amenities
and new housing, providing sustainable places for generations to come. The area masterplan included the
> Strengthen links to Parson Cross and the Wolfe Road hub, promoting Wilcox Road as a main avenue.
> Strengthen green links and spaces from Back Edge into the housing areas.
> Highlight views south to the city, to the countryside and into the Foxhill area from its surroundings.
> Reflect the Pennine countryside character of the original settlement areas of Birley Carr and Birley Edge.
> Make links between the three parts of the neighbourhood; better connect Foxhill to the rest of the city.
> Demolitions allow opportunities to extend the natural landscape of Back Edge into the area below
Edgewell Drive and to link to the park.
> A second new wedge of green space is proposed from Foxhill Drive to Midhurst Road, using the brook at
the boundary of the site to create particular landscape character.
> Important junction points are at Foxhill Road / Wilcox Road and Foxhill Crescent / Foxhill Drive.
> The existing tree belt on Back Edge is to be retained, but selective breaks may be made to enable
pedestrian access and views to / from development.
The overall character of the neighbourhood relates to the hilltop position, countryside edges and mix of old
and new buildings. The park areas are complemented by spaces such as Foxhill Back Edge, the quarry, and
the woods at Cowper Road. If all of these sites, both formal and informal, were well connected to each other
they would provide a web of contrasting green space across the neighbourhood. Furthermore, a route runs
from Parson Cross (Halifax Road crossing) through the neighbourhood centre, over Back Edge and down into
the Upper Don area. This route, by crossing the A61, the railway line and even potentially the river (if a bridge
was installed), would stitch Foxhill back into the adjacent bits of the city. It is also an opportunity, through
the design of new buildings and improvements to open spaces and the streetscape, to define the
neighbourhood’s identity, as the route encompasses all of the features that make Foxhill special: the
landform, views, nearness of the countryside, well-used community facilities and different ages and types of
The route from Back Edge - a major landform feature at the city scale - is an old one that dates from the time
when this area was all countryside. New visual elements on this part of the skyline – whether new housing,
lighting or art works – will celebrate the views and make Foxhill visible to the rest of the city.
Project Brief + Approach
The main aims of this project, as outlined in the brief, are:
1. To involve and engage individuals and communities in the shaping of their environment.
2. To establish a unified ‘journey’ through the area whilst preserving individual character.
3. To make the place unique special and exciting – a place where existing residents, new residents
and visitors want to be.
Stage 1: Develop a strategy for elements of the public realm that will fit with existing and proposed
developments and can be rolled out as further developments are realised. The strategy will focus
on deliverable projects and fit within existing masterplans. Further stages will deliver the strategy.
The Brief describes themes identified from previous consultation and documentation:
a. From Pathways to Icon – pathways exploring the idea of journeys ‘from city to countryside and
back again’, and icon - from the notion of ‘see and be seen’.
b. Home, Work, Park and Civic Square – from intimate to civic.
c. Now and the Future – use of temporary and permanent work to create a sense of momentum,
excitement and community cohesion.
The Brief identifies developments involved in the project:
Lindsay Road, Parson Cross Park, Falstaff, Adlington, Chaucer Buchanan District Centre, Chaucer
Buchanan Library Learning Centre, Chaucer Buchanan Square, Chaucer Buchanan shops (the
existing parade), New Parson Cross, Knutton Road, Foxhill, Foxhill Park and, ‘other elements’
including using disused shops, site hoardings and engaging people in city-wide cultural events.
Initial Key Projects (Stage 2):
1. Parson Cross Park Entrance Area – recognition that Parson Cross Park is at the core of the
neighbourhood, but due to its unwelcoming and hidden entrances is currently underused and
undervalued. The entrance should celebrate the park and highlight its position at the heart of
the neighbourhood.
2. The second site-specific funded project is associated with the new Chaucer Buchanan Square
adjacent to the Library Learning Centre.
Project Partners: This document has been
produced in partnership with the following:
» Community Partners/ Reference Groups
(neighbourhood forums etc.)/ Local residents
» SOAR - Southey Owlerton Area Regeneration
» City Council Officers
» Developer Representatives
» Creative Places: A partnership between Arts Council
England, Eventus Sheffield and Sheffield City
Council. It seeks to involve artists in
transformational change, to offer opportunities for
the arts to be embedded within large-scale
housing/community building programmes and to
improve cultural provision in places experiencing
housing renewal and growth.
To meet the requirements of the brief we undertook the following key activities, guided by the Project
Steering Group:
» A review of previous studies, engagement exercises, strategies, concepts, masterplans etc.
» Contact with key local stakeholders, in-depth creative engagement, especially with two reference groups
(Walking Group + AWYP). This will continue into Stage 2, as will walks, talks and facilitated workshops with
residents, local groups and council officers.
» Regular Project Team meetings
» Dedicated website/diary ( ), design of consultation material, publicity, postcards
etc. to promote the project and enlist further input.
» Context study: An exploration of the essence of the area: spatial, historical, social, landscape (urban edge,
countryside), streetscape, ecology, water, activity-spaces, physical barriers, conversations.
» Mapping support and participation opportunities (green initiatives, food, health, etc)
» Liaison with SCC officials - Regeneration, Highways, Urban Design, Planning, Accessibility, and liaison with
HMR (Housing) scheme designers.
» Development of a suite of material and colour palettes.
» Workshop with stakeholders in order to identify gaps and test the emerging concepts, designs and visions in
the strategy.
» Detailed design development; key proposals including the two specific Stage 2 site designs, site/schemespecific designs and generic neighbourhood proposals.
» Production of final report including summary and promotional flyers/postcards.
Physical Context
Situated along Sheffield’s northern ridge, the neighbourhoods of Foxhill and Parson Cross are
separated by the north-south Halifax Road, a major city artery. The high points in Foxhill - on
Birley Edge and Back Edge - are up to 80m above Halifax Road, and 120m above the River Don.
The location provides a sequence of impressive views over the city and surrounding countryside.
The ridge continues north-west to the view-point at Birley Stone. Parson Cross, although a lower
and more undulating landscape, also has many impressive vantage points, including views across
to Foxhill. The area is bisected by the ecologically rich stream-valley called Tongue Gutter/
Sheffield Lane Dike, which runs east towards the M1, where it joins the Blackburn Brook flowing
south the River Don. The main formal green space is Parson Cross Park, which contains expanses
of level ground - unusual in Sheffield. The regeneration housing developments will be served by
the expanded district centre, at Chaucer Buchanan.
The image above shows many of the important greenspace features of the area, along with the largest of
the planned new developments. These are repeated in the topographical section below.
Natural Environment
These neighbourhoods, in different ways, play host to areas of special
environmental importance. In Parson Cross, the highlights are to be
found in the Tongue Gutter valley and brook; in Foxhill, it is the slopes of
Birley Edge/Back Edge which are deserving of attention. Within both
neighbourhoods, there is a relative lack of tree cover, but efforts are
being made to improve the situation. The vision for the future of open
spaces needs to celebrate and expand on this rich natural capital.
In the Foxhill area, Back Edge is a major topographical feature at the
city scale, its sharp contours and distinctive heathland visible from
Penistone Road and across the city. Its presence suggests the
possibility of bringing countryside features and planting into the
city - stone-walls, furze, heather, broom, birch, hawthorn, dogwood,
managed long grasses. The nearby stream which runs down from
Skew Hill is subsequently culverted through the post-war housing
areas. Away from Back Edge, the natural habitats and vegetation are
of limited nature conservation importance. Most of the plant
species and habitats are characteristic of disturbed and cultivated
land, being of comparatively recent succession, or are planted,
ornamental species.
The ecological highlight of the Parson Cross area is Tongue Gutter, which is
host to species unusual in the Sheffield area. Ancient remnants indicated by
old hazel bushes occur along the brook. Most of the watercourse is
dominated by native alder and crack willow, providing protected and
secluded habitats, despite heavy use of the valley. Recent studies have found
evidence of water voles - a priority species under the Sheffield Biodiversity
Action Plan (BAP). The Sheffield Lane Dike section is a Site of Scientific
Interest (SSI) and the full length is a Green Corridor under the 1998 Sheffield
Unitary Development Plan, and proposed as a Site of Importance for Nature
Conservation (SINC). Sheffield Lane Dike joins Tongue Gutter from the north
and a smaller tributary runs from the south in a small valley through Parson
Cross Park. Before the 1930s, there were a number of streams flowing
through the farmland, associated with two ponds. Within Tongue Gutter, the
water is fairly clear, apart from the outfall east of Holgate Crescent, which
shows evidence of significant pollution. The most recent ecological study
proposes that water quality be improved at source, and to impede the stream
at a number of points in order to trap sediment and encourage filtration by
existing vegetation. Reedbeds have been suggested, but there could be a risk
of invasion of the species-rich areas if the new planting is not carefully
Small patches of woodland occur in the valley, still supporting species
characteristic of oak woodland. The rich stream-side vegetation hosts many
species typical of ancient woodland. The lower end of Sheffield Lane Dike
retains traces of some of the original hedgerows, including one which is still
maintained as a boundary. It consists of high hawthorn with old sessile oaks.
A few areas in Parson Cross Park are scrubland, developing into the character
of woodland with a low ash and hawthorn canopy, together with species
such as field maple, rowan and wild cherry. Scrub is a Habitat of Local
Importance in the BAP. A small watercourse flows northwards through a
long-established woodland of willows. Beneath the canopy are found
meadowsweet and soft-rush.
The area is underlain by the Penistone Flags, Greenmor Rock and
Grenoside Sandstone, of the Lower Coal Measures (Westphalian A
Series), comprising of sandstones, mudstones and shales. These
were deposited hundreds of millions of years ago, when the area
was situated close to the equator. Later, these rocks were affected
by tectonic movements which, in the Sheffield area, resulted in
eastward dipping strata, and corresponding westward facing
edges. The Coal Measures occur throughout the heavily
industrialised areas of South and West Yorkshire. Exposure of
rock-face occurs within Tongue Gutter Valley (banks and bed of
stream), and extensively along Birley Edge. In this area, the
bedrock is generally overlain by clay soils. Nearby, to the west,
‘ganister’ was quarried to be ground down and fired to make
refactory bricks.
Tree cover in Southey (7.5%) is the lowest in the city, apart from the city
centre. Old Parson Cross (6.1%) and New Parson Cross (6.6%) are in the
bottom ten out of 100 neighbourhoods. Taken as a whole, Sheffield has
15% cover, which is high for a UK city. Partly to counter die-off of
Victorian-planted trees, a programme of tree planting across the City is
taking place; 5,000 trees were recently earmarked for planting in areas
which currently had little woodland coverage. The new trees will be rather
different to the large-leafed trees of 130 years ago. Many will be easier to
maintain as they produce smaller leaves and drought resistant species
have been selected to withstand changing climate. As well as selected
native trees, species such as the Honey Locust and the Gingko have been
chosen. The planting programme will help Sheffield deal with some of the
effects of pollution and climate change: trees and their leaves help to
remove particulate air pollutants (from vehicle exhausts) by collecting
them on their leaves, where they are washed out of the air into the ground.
They also help to slow water run-off and reduce flooding, and urban trees
can help regulate temperature in heatwaves. In March 2009, Brightside MP
David Blunkett joined local schoolchildren (Meynell Primary School) and
residents in planting six new trees at Halliwell Crescent.
Sheffield-based businesses such as Hillsborough sweet manufacturer
A.L.Simpkin Ltd are involved in tree planting projects with the South
Yorkshire Forest Partnership (SYFP) initiative, which also helped to plant
close to 1000 sponsored trees in 2008, at sites around South Yorkshire
through the ‘Gift that Grows’ scheme. With the support of local
communities, individuals and businesses the SYFP aims to continue to
develop the region's tree cover which currently stands at 11% - well below
the European average of 37%.
Visual Character
PARSON CROSS: The visual character of a neighbourhood includes its unique combination of materials, important vistas and the variety and form of its buildings. In
the 1930s/40s estates of Old Parson Cross, the dominant appearance is of uniform brick terraced housing, privet hedge frontages and abundant grass verges. High hedged,
narrow ginnels lead to and from large empty spaces. Currently, some vast cleared spaces await new housing construction. Occasionally too, one sees the faded glory of the
original street light columns, elegant and redundant, strangely isolated. New Parson Cross retains much of its original integrity and character and, other than pockets of
enhancement such as Margetson Crescent, has the visual quality of a typical post war suburb. Between the two lies Tongue Gutter, an ecological jewel, despite an amount
of fly-tipped rubbish. This narrow valley and brook has an intimate and natural appearance and provides a strong reminder of the former rural landscape character.
The appearance of these neighbourhoods derives from the
setting - located on hillsides at the edge of the city; and
from the historical origins of most of the housing and
streetscape - 1930’s and 40’s ‘estates’ of brick houses
featuring wide streets, privet hedges and grass verges. The
most distinctive aspects of the material quality of the area
will be woven into the vision.
Many of these neighbourhood photos
were taken during early 2009 by members
of the Area Wide Youth Parliament and by
Foxhill residents.
FOXHILL is more dramatically informed by topography, scale and proximity to the countryside. Wilcox Road, as it rises from the busy Halifax Road, sets the scene and reveals the
neighbourhood character through small brick portals and glimpses along neighbouring streets. Either side runs a network of terraced houses whose frontages are again firmly marked by the
ever present privet hedgerow. Similarly impressive is Foxhill Road rising up to Back Edge and defining old and new. As it rises, it passes from what was a Victorian industrial area and rural
village at the southern end of the valley up through the inter-war estate to areas of newer housing that have a more urban character. Parks and incidental amenity spaces are generally small
and self-contained but as the landscape rises so the countryside and its associated vernacular styles takes on an increasing presence. Dressed stone, dry stone walls, and high native
hedgerows increasingly inform the character of the spaces, which in places manage to retain a village-like feel.
Cultural and
Historical Identity
The historical and inherited cultural ‘layers’ are
vitally important in building a ‘sense of place’.
Despite the enormous changes over the past
century, the evidence is still written in the landscape, and in the streetnames. Celebration of the
past can underpin future directions and designs.
The Parson Cross estate was built in the 1930’s, on farmland. Long before then it was part of a royal
deer forest, later enclosed for hay meadow, crops such as potatoes, or grazing for dairy cows. Early
OS maps show the field boundaries, and there are other records that reveal many of the former
field names - providing a rich landscape tapestry. Most fields are likely to have been enclosed by
hedgerows; possibly some on higher ground were dry-stone walled. Tongue Gutter has long been
an important part of the landscape. Near the present main entrance to Parson Cross Park was ‘Elm
Green’, along with fields whose names incorporating the word ‘Elm’ (Elm Royd, Nether Elm Field),
and a farmhouse called ‘The Elm’. Elm Lane still remains as a main road in the area, linking to
another former ‘Green’ - Southey Green.
Foxhill is a divided neighbourhood - old Foxhill, new Foxhill and the older, Victorian village at the bottom of the hill. There is nothing
much to bring these three parts together and indeed people living in the older bit would probably not see themselves as living in
Foxhill. ‘Old’ Foxhill was built in 1939 and residents moved in (before the roads were surfaced) from the back-to-backs of St. Philips
Road and Hammond Street areas of the city. The character of old Foxhill has remained almost unchanged; the clipped privet
hedgerows remain around the front gardens of most of the houses and the ornamental street lights (originally gas), still line many
streets. New Foxhill was built in the mid-late 1960’s as part of the City’s housing expansion programme and its subsequent
advancement up the hill and into the countryside. The drama of new ‘modern’ flats was matched by the panoramic views from three
storeys up, but such drama was short-lived as many of the flats have now been demolished and the empty landscape is awaiting the
development of a new era of housing design.
Before the housing invasion, it was an area that essentially ‘belonged’ to the countryside and had been farmed for hundred’s of years.
Little tangible evidence of the former farms remains to this day other than the old stone buildings adjacent to Edge Lane, the outlying
farms and the remnant orchard between Foxhill Park and Foxhill Crescent.
Quotes from anecdotal and archival sources:
“Wolfe Road Park was waste ground until 1975. The kids used to play in the long grass but it didn’t have the equipment that it does today. Once a
year a farmer used to hand cut the meadow for hay and children came from miles around to help him.”
“Much is said in that old book about the gardens, the flowers, the 21 varieties of holly many of which can still be seen bordering lover’s walk, the
greenhouse and vinery all tended with loving care by Mr Chester and his helpers and watched over by the towering poplars, oaks, chestnuts, white
cherry and copper beech.”
Site Explorations
Many studies and reports eloquently express the quality of the
landscape, the topography, the juxtaposition of city and
countryside, the sense of being on the edge (particularly Foxhill)
and failure of the 1930’s garden city principles. However, these are
no substitute for being immersed in the place. Important
therefore to the development of this strategy was a series of
exploratory walks in the neighbourhoods. Some of these were
carried out with local residents and council officers. All of them
sought to connect with the everyday experience of getting
around in these areas, and to examine the reality of accessing the
countryside and the ecologically-rich Tongue Gutter.
Back Edge
Back Edge
Between December 2008 and April 2009 the artists undertook a number of explorations of the landscape, streetscape and communities of Parson
Cross and Foxhill. Often the journeys commenced with a bus ride from the centre of Sheffield and this was a strong reminder of the remoteness of
the two neighbourhoods from the hub of the city.
These explorations (or ‘landings’) were distinct from formal presentations or pre-arranged meetings in that they were an opportunity to experience
and absorb the places and their associated characteristics. They were conducted on foot; giving a greater awareness of how streets, landmarks,
parks and open spaces and other places of interest relate to each other and fit into the wider context.
The endless street uniformity of brick facades and clipped privet somehow offers a sense of place, of coherence, of shared experience. The
streetscape is punctuated by the understated elegance of the old street lighting columns – some of which stand in splendid isolation on the
exposed empty plains of Falstaff - patiently awaiting transformation. Translocation perhaps? The huge and all embracing sky - more dominating
even than the nearby countryside, ever present over the large expanse of Parson Cross Park.
Walking through, and between, the neighbourhoods (taking care across Halifax Road), allowed local nuances, reference points and new experiences
to reveal themselves and chance encounters with residents to take place. Each walk presented a new experience. From city to countryside and back
again. Each new experience presented a different response that, in turn, inspired further conversation between the artists and fresh ideas,
conceptual thoughts to emerge. Occasional dialogue with local people of all ages revealed a warmth and pride in each of the neighbourhoods.
Conversations revealed a true sense of what it means to live in these communities, a graceful fearlessness tempered with an apparent acceptance of
the unknown impacts that change would inevitably bring one day....soon.
These walks explored the neighbourhood, its topography, and the
countryside edge, all the way to The Birley Stone/ Festival Stone. The
paths are illustrated in the diagram above (upper right). Adam
Matich, from Foxhill Forum, was a guide on the second of these
walks, which looked at neglected open spaces with potential for
With the help of DEMEX staff, a
photographic and video study was
undertaken to document the final days
and hours of the last two houses on
Falstaff Crescent (right). It is hoped that
the material collected will be presented
locally, and elsewhere, as an exhibition.
This exploration went from Holgate Road to Barnsley Road, along the
valley. An opportunity to absorb the landscape, sounds and sights, to
talk about the problems (fly-tipping, pollution), the improvement
efforts and the vast potential for this green corridor. Later, the ‘green
link’ north to Colley Park was also explored.
Community Engagement
- To involve and engage individuals and communities in the shaping
of their environment.
- To bring a fresh and creative approach to community dialogue to
ensure that there was minimum duplication of past activities.
- To offer a range of mechanisms that enable and encourage direct
and indirect community participation with the project.
The Parson Cross Park Healthy Walking Group and Area Wide Youth
Parliament have been participating in a photographic recording project
that captures the character of the neighbourhoods as seen through the
eyes of local residents. Residents from Foxhill have also been
contributing to this element of work. Many of the collected photos are
published on the project website, and in the future may be presented on
construction site hoardings and exhibition spaces. Some also appear on
this page and the cover of the document.
Area-Wide Youth Parliament/ CHILYPEP: A workshop was held on 11th
February 2009 to initiate dialogue and a photographic project. Amongst
the features which emerge are the importance of walking; the
usefulness of the ‘ginnels’ (passageways); and the car-dominated,
unattractive streets. In general neither the streets nor the greenspaces
encourage people to use them as part of their social life. The common
impression is that Foxhill feels quite remote from Parson Cross, largely
because of the barrier presented by the busy Halifax Road, though the
attractions of the countryside beyond Back Edge are appreciated.
“I didn’t know that was Parson Cross Park all the way over there –
that’s where I play football but I never walk there.”
Parson Cross Healthy Walking Group: Some of the photographs
taken by this group are presented here (above and on the right). Over a
series of five meetings, presentations and discussions, the following
issues emerged to inform the open space vision:
» There is a desire for more trees and shelter in the exposed parts of
Parson Cross Park. In this respect it is compared unfavourably with
Longley Park, which has more shelter, and a parkland quality.
» Some in the group remember when this open space (The Park) was
planted every year with wheat and potatoes. There is support for a
revival of more food production, and an interest in the recent
small-scale potato-planting events organised by the park rangers.
» The (main) Buchanan Road park entrance is a cause for concern,
mainly do to the lack of a footpath, thereby forcing walkers to share
the entrance section with vehicles. These can be large maintenance
vehicles, or cars moving at speed. There have been requests to
provide a footpath for a number of years. Also, in relation to the
entrance design, there is support for the screening of the unsightly
fence around the adjacent sub-station, as well as adding interest by
designing an outdoor gallery space.
» Tongue Gutter is well known, and is one of the routes for the healthy
walks. The natural quality is highly valued. In the past, some used to
walk along the brook as far as the Barnsley Road, but are now put off
by the poor state of repair of the high flight of steps and amount of
fly-tipping in that area.
Other dialogues with residents (Foxhill): To many in Foxhill, Parson
Cross is seen as distant and inaccessible. Within Foxhill itself, the
neighbourhood is quite divided, with distinct, separate areas, including
a very old bit. There are a number of smaller incidental spaces which are
not being used to their full potential. With a bit of investment and
design support, these could be turned into spaces that are richer
ecologically, and could be used for play and food-growing.
Other dialogues with residents (Margetson TARA, Parson Cross):
The former closeness of the community was emphasised. Street parties
and seasonal fires were a feature, as was the annual outing to the coast
at Cleethorpes and the daily gathering of a fleet of buses to ferry
workers to the steel factories.
“I know that houses are houses, but I remember the wheat fields, the
potatoes and picking blackberries, a walled orchard and a mulberry
tree....I used to walk everywhere – down to, and along the river...”
Community Engagement (cont)
SOAR Area-Wide Culture, Diversity + Arts Theme Group
(Meeting 23rd April 2009)
SOAR Area-Wide Environment and Liveability Theme Group
(Meeting 2nd March 2009)
The draft strategy/ vision was presented and discussed. The group responded
positively to the concept of ecologically-based ‘green ribbon’ pathways, linking
activities and sites. The Museum Service is involved in a ‘cultural identity’ project
and possible crossovers with the public space agenda were discussed. Design
suggestions for Parson Cross Park entrance were also examined.
Walks and connectivity featured prominently throughout the workshop. The
group recognises the value of/interest in walking, the desire to link places
together more coherently, and the big idea of ‘From City to Countryside and back
“I like the idea of combining these materials, this palette - hedges, hedgerows,stone
walls and weathered steel; I especially like the idea of re-locating the old lamp-posts they are such a piece of local history”
“Tongue Gutter has a significant fly-tipping problem – it definitely needs some
“Why not ‘grand entranceways’ at Parson Cross Park like at other big parks in the city;
such as Millhouses and Graves Park? And a decent café often pulls people in.”
“We would love the park to become a City Park to attract more people and more
“There could be an emphasis on journeys into the area, as well as journeys out”
“The entrance design looks interesting; it may also be good to consider something with
more height, like an arch. Lots of parks in Sheffield have arch entrances. It can give a
sense of arrival”
“Creating outdoor galleries is an interesting idea for reaching new audiences, and
showcasing local artistic talent”
The group talked about the importance of connections between local parks and
pointed out that Parson Cross Park and Longley Park are practically joined
already. They thought that using some sort of ‘sense of place’ to join these spaces
up with other public spaces was a good idea. There was scope for placing
markers at ‘points of interest’ to identify local places of historic or wildlife interest
along walking routes around the park and neighbourhoods.
“There is an old stone at the top of Foxhill (adjacent to Birley Stone) that points out
The group liked the idea of using viewpoints in the area to give a sense of place.
They were also supportive of the suggestion of ‘green routes’ as an extension of
the ideas for connectivity to join public spaces with parks; for example, new
district centre with Parson Cross Park. Someone remembered a previous idea that
a member of the group had suggested about green foot prints to guide people
along green routes.
“We used to go on day trips to Cleethorpes and we had an extra weeks holiday (wakes
week) at the end of each summer.”
‘How does this affect me and the quality of the environment I live in?’
Foxhill Forum, April 2009. A workshop, facilitated by the artists, explored the
Green Ribbon theme identified in the draft strategy and suggested other
associated ideas for consideration. Residents from Foxhill and Parson Cross,
together with representatives from local agencies, participated in lively
discussions about appropriate spaces that could be enhanced through the
future delivery of the People, Places + Spaces project. The draft open space
‘vision’ of the ‘Green Ribbons’ (and four component settings) was presented.
Participants considered different ways of ‘greening’ the streets, creating
productive landscapes and the possibilities for bringing nature and water into
the public realm. All these suggestions are presented on the annotated maps in
Part 2.4. By far, the greatest interest was in the ‘food/ productive landscape’
setting, prompting many memories and inspiring ideas. Links were made to past
growing and foraging activities and to some current food/health projects such
as those run by the Healthy Living Group, Healthy Cross and the Foxhill Medical
Centre. There was a lot of support for adapting unused spaces for shared food
“Home-grown tastes a lot better”
Context and Identity: A Summary
Before setting out the vision for the open spaces (in Part Two), we here
sum up the context and character, which emerges from the explorations
and local opinions - in essence, the cultural identity. It relates strongly to
the physical setting as well as to the individual and collective lived
experience. It is about the coming together of distinctive landscapes,
pathways, surfaces, areas and spaces. Also, it is about ‘connecting’ - a
meeting point of past, present, future. Connections and meeting points
play a big part in everyday experience. The term can describe particular
routes, paths, spots, but also the manner in which buildings, homes, local
centres etc. are connected to the neighbourhood and landscape.
Parson Cross and Foxhill, like the rest of Southey Owlerton, and all
suburban fringes across the country, are archetypal urban-edge areas,
so typical of city expansion and the ever-receding rural landscape. As
such they are the ‘meeting’ of a landscape dominated by geometric
streets, and the organic, open field patterns of the farmland beyond. As
previously outlined, five ‘big ideas’ have emerged from past
engagement work in Southey Owlerton:
» Park City – reflecting the area’s green spaces
» See and Be Seen – reflecting the internal views and outward views
» Identity from Landform – reflecting the local topography
» From City to Country and Back Again – walks and routes
» Green Arteries – parks and open spaces as drivers for development.
We have synthesised and adapted these evocative ideas to inform
proposals for new visions, neighbourhood designs and place-making.
There is a clear desire to highlight Sheffield’s growing reputation as a
‘Green City’ and a ‘Healthy Local Food City’ by introducing a variety of
ecological and environmentally sustainable opportunities. Drawing on
the five ‘big ideas’, and the dialogues undertaken as part of ‘people,
places and spaces’, there emerges an interest in seeing many of the
qualities of the countryside re-occupying parts of the city, eg.
hedgerow systems, drystone walls, crops etc, as part of an
interconnected, sustainable and productive urban landscape. This adds
up to more nature, more greenery, more trees, more local food, more
green lanes. Within the context of this broader ‘green’ approach is a
desire to recognise and distill the essential qualities of Parson Cross
and Foxhill. Care and attention to such issues can help re-build a sense
of safety, pride and confidence in places and spaces where people live.
The vision which follows is grounded in the views, hopes and aspirations of local residents. The vision will suggest possibilities for the
creation of new and convivial public/shared spaces, pathways and
activity hubs, as part of reviving and re-inventing a sense of place.
There is a desire for change to be innovative, yet rooted in the existing successful local activities - e.g. the communal healthy
living/eating/walking initiatives, as well as rooted in the memories of
more communal outdoor activities such as street parties, walking to
work and school, berry picking and adventure play.
On the one hand, ‘Places’ refers to both Parson Cross and Foxhill - as
unique areas within the city. There is a desire to mark the ‘gateways’
to these neighbourhoods, to announce them as special areas of the
city, with their own character and history. Whilst celebrating that
uniqueness, it is clear that there is much that is shared between the
two areas, both socially and in their identities. Many residents have
referred to Halifax Road as a ‘barrier’, separating these
neighbourhoods which used to be much closer. These are issues that
will be addressed in the vision. Safety and ‘liveability’ issues were
also brought to the fore - eg concerns about lack of streetlighting in
places, lack of seating - especially on the steeper streets, the poor
condition of the pavements, and more.
The spaces of importance are those that connect, and those that
encourage interaction and ‘meeting’. Many of these key locations,
zones and corridors (actual and potential) have been identified in
the research/dialogue phase and central to the vision outlined in
Part Two. There is a desire for more safe spaces for children, toddlers
and young people, spaces for food production, for nature
conservation and outdoor pursuits. One of the most effective ways of
addressing the issue of people not feeling safe when using open
space is to ensure that new housing is designed especially to allow
natural surveillance.
In formulating the vision, we build on the earlier identification of
walking routes. Activities to occupy these spaces are also addressed,
as are the materials which can be combined, at different scales, to
create the physical fabric and appearance of public spaces. Which
materials to select? How do they contribute to the local
distinctiveness, of a space, a street or neighbourhood? In the context
of Parson Cross and Foxhill this selection is about the meeting of
hard and soft, of stone walls, hedges and hedgerows; of trees and
pathways; of steel and planting; living walls, roofs and inert
structures; grass verges, meadows, bricks.
A Vision for the Open Spaces
in Parson Cross and Foxhill
'Green Ribbons' - connecting people places and spaces
Connecting People, Places, Spaces - Green Ribbons
Green Ribbons are about connecting places, importing nature into the city fabric.
Green Ribbons form a network, tying together new and existing public spaces, enriching
them over time, and over seasons - an ever-changing city landscape.
Green Ribbons are paths - for wandering through the area on foot or by bike, and discovering
new places and routes.
Green Ribbons are a commitment - to involve the local community, to create a sense of
ownership of spaces, so as to build a system that everyone can enjoy.
Green Ribbons form a public realm that is restorative, visually appealing and enhances
community character, while being functional, maintainable, biologically diverse and
environmentally sound.
Previous studies have developed particular paths as walking routes in the Parson Cross and
Foxhill areas. This vision builds on, and expands, the function of that network. These pathways
and routes present a creative opportunity for enhancing the experience of the landscape, the
streetscape and the neighbourhoods. They provide a potential canvas for revealing the
character and identity of places, new and old. They allow places to tell a story and people to
be part of the narrative. They present possibilities for the creation of an ecological
‘surround-sound’ effect such as green corridors, street trees, living green screens, woodlands
and urban meadows. En-route there are opportunities for pausing, for discovery, for enjoying
the in-between spaces and even making productive and learning use of them.
The Green Ribbons are also, in a sense, binding. They run through the place and they run
through people’s lives, binding individuals and communities, celebrating the ‘green’ assets
and views, demonstrating commitment to a sustainable future. They express, for instance:
» Continuity – ribbons (and threads) running through
» Celebration and Delight – the bow on a parcel, the maypole ribbon rituals
» Commitment - indicating dedication to an ideal, or campaign
As physical corridors, they are the walks and expressions of the character of the place; as a
perceptual response, they are the activities that are carried out and which pervade people’s
lives – healthy walks, outdoor activities, planting and harvesting. The ribbons are not just
physical trails but places that are given meaning and ownership through activity. The network
of walks and activities converge and cross and meet - in time and space; meetings of
landscapes, paths, people, materials.
“ Green space is not an amenity, it’s a necessity.” Ed McMahon, the originator of the term ‘green
infrastructure’. (quote from CABE, March 2009)
“It’s about thinking about green space as a planned network. Who’d build a road system where the
roads didn’t connect?....Translated into work on the ground, this means that every community
needs a long-range conservation plan – just like a long-range transportation plan. The most
important question is not what it costs, but what should we do? Money always follows good
There is a proven relationship, McMahon says, between green space and health, economic
development and property values. "If we invest in green infrastructure, we can reduce public
costs significantly; It pays for itself many times over."
Green Corridors and Countryside: (quoted from the Sheffield Develoment Framework, 2009)
“A network of green corridors, parks, recreational areas and greenspaces will be preserved and enhanced
within and close to the urban areas, including strategic links along the main river valleys. These will serve a
range of purposes including movement of wildlife in the city, leisure and recreation, and walking and cycling.”
Green Ribbons - On the Map
We identify potential ‘Green Ribbons’ that traverse and tie together the areas of Parson Cross and Foxhill.
These offer connectivity – neighbourhood to neighbourhood, and to the wider city and countryside. The
‘ribbons’ integrate existing and established pathways; such as Sheffield Country Walk and TransPennine
Way, as well as other local routes identified in previous studies, including Three Parks Programme and
Southey Owlerton Walks. They therefore already exist to some extent, but not yet as continuous, unbroken
green corridors. What is shown here is just an initial framework, or network; more connections, threads,
ribbons will be added over time, as the areas change and develop, and as individuals and communities put
themselves ‘on the map’.
The ‘ribbons’ are people-friendly routes, but they are also mosaics of multi-purpose spaces, incorporating
new possibilities for ecological and visual improvement, fruit growing/ tending (orchards, nutteries etc),
food crops (community allotments, herb gardens), as well as being zones of creativity and learning. The
‘green ribbons’ are an inspiring vision that can bring together diverse interests in this part of the city,
working in partnership for a sustainable future.
Locations: Two primary ‘ribbons’ are identified here:
East - West (Woodland to Woodland): A ribbon connecting Woolley Wood, east of Shiregreen, by following
the route of Hartley Brook, through Tongue Gutter and up to Foxhill and Back Edge. Following Birley Edge
northwards past Birley Stone, this route reaches Wharncliffe Wood, west of Grenoside.
South to North (City to Countryside, via The Three Parks): From the hospital at Fir Vale, this route takes in
Longley Park, Parson Cross Park, across Tongue Gutter and up to Colley Park, then northwards to the
Ecclesfield countryside beyond.
Tongue Gutter becomes the critical meeting and crossing point for these primary green ribbons,
reinforcing its importance as a significant site in the local and wider city context. Many other important
sites occur along the Green Ribbons; these can be established and marked as focal points, pocket parks,
art/ play opportunities, or viewing points.
Network: A number of secondary ‘threads’ are also identified (as indicated on the adjacent plan). These
provide further neighbourhood connectivity, for example across Parson Cross Park, through Falstaff and
south from Adlington Road along an established green route towards Southey Green/Owlerton. Another
significant link from Back Edge follows part of the Sheffield Country Walk route down to the valley of the
River Don. It is likely that many more additional links will be added in the future.
Adapting Streets: The vision also introduces the concept of ‘green streets’ as urban connections and
integral components of the green ribbons. Important streets for consideration as green streets include
Wilcox Road (within the E-W ribbon), Buchanan Road and Margetson Road and Foxhill Road, as well as
streets within the new developments of Falstaff and Adlington. The main crossing point on Halifax Road
offers a further opportunity to signal the green vision to a wider audience (including passing motorists). On
each side of Halifax Rd, there could be an iconic green structure or living screen, which can, in part, be an
art-work, and in part a functional contribution to improving air quality, and screening for a new community
open space, on the eastern side.
A Unified Journey: Productive landscapes, natural food and linear orchards are introduced en route, as are
welcoming sitting spaces, communal gathering points and vantage points. The green ribbons are 'walking,
learning landscapes' that provide people with access to both rural and urban landscapes. They are
ecologically complex zones with a diverse range of habitats, including woodland, woodland edge, glades
and open spaces, wetland and meadows. These features are carefully orchestrated to create synthesis and a
sequence of varying visual and sensory experiences. Overall, it is proposed that different segments of the
‘ribbons’ will have different functions or focus. Some - such as the Sheffield Lane Dike - will be about
ecology and water. Emerging from this central strand into Parson Cross Park may be zones (fingers) of
semi-natural woodland and native-exotic meadows (as pioneered by Green Estate and others in Sheffield).
Linear orchards may be appropriate in Parson Cross Park, close to the new supermarket, and in/near Foxhill
Park. Sculpture trails and viewing areas are suggested for Birley Edge/ Back Edge, and locations within the
North-South ribbon link.
Colley Park
Foxhill Park
Birley Edge
Tongue Gutter
District Centre
Parson Cross Park
Longley Park
These maps show the Green Ribbon network, both the main east-west and
north-south links, as well as some of the possible subsidiary green pathways
connecting into the main routes. The street map illustrates how the ribbon paths
connect to the wider city and countryside beyond Parson Cross and Foxhill.
Green Ribbon Settings
Introduction: Within the Green Ribbons, the following may be found:
» 1. Nature: water, ecology, woodlands and meadows
» 2. Food growing, productive landscapes, orchards
» 3. Green streets, gateways, thresholds
» 4. Viewing areas and art-spaces
These represent a mix of functional spaces that can be found within the Green
Ribbon network (including the connected corridors), and are the locations where
the strategy is put into practice, in a transforming way. The illustrations on this
page are a selection of outline design ideas appropriate to each of the four
settings. These are further explained through examples of precedents and
palettes (materials, planting, colour) detailed on the following pages. The maps
in Part 2.5 present some approaches to applying the vision to specific locations
and real situations within the project area. Suggestions for participation, based
on the four settings, are also presented in Part 2.6.
Nature: (Water, Ecology, Woodland, Meadow)
Certain sites offer the potential for nature conservation and the sensitive
introduction of semi-natural areas, such as meadows and woodlands. Sheffield is
renowned as a centre of excellence for such ‘dynamic’ landscapes. Also possible
are ecological designs for water management (eg. from surface run-off ), in a
functional, imaginative and inspiring way.
Productive Landscapes: (Food, Orchards, Community Herb Gardens)
As well as bringing nature into the city, there are opportunities to develop public
areas for food-growing. These can be small green spaces that generally occur
incidentally within the neighbourhoods - the all too often neglected, in-between
spaces that have the potential to make a contribution to community well-being
and health. Linear orchards can act as connecting elements of the ribbon
pathways, providing seasonal produce, as well as adding to the attractiveness
and colour of these green-space areas. In some locations, there may be
possibilities for food and herb growing in the streets and squares. Rhubarb,
strawberries and other fruits have been suggested.
Green Streets, Gateways, Thresholds:
Some streets (e.g. Wilcox Road, Foxhill Road, Buchanan Road) are important link
sections of the green ribbon network. The visual quality and atmosphere of
these streets can be enhanced through the use of tree-planting, installation of
green/living structures (markers), and through adapting the grass verges. There
are possibilities for using recurring motifs, pattern, decoration and lighting to
help ‘lift’ the streets. Thresholds mark the transitions between streets and
housing areas, greenspaces etc. They denote a change from one ambience to
another. They help create the sense of identity and invitation. Park entrances are
particularly important sites in this respect.
Viewing Points and Art Spaces:
Vantage points are the locations that afford panoramic views across the
neighbourhoods or surrounding cityscape and countryside. Often they are
‘incidental’ and taken for granted but provide scope as ‘pausing points’ allowing a
moment’s contemplation. They may possibly be the locations for ridge-top
landmark structures that change the skyline and can be viewed from afar
(putting the area ‘on the map’). Art interventions - such as sculpture trails and
outdoor galleries - are also there to be viewed, to act as both destinations and
features that animate the walking routes.
Food, Orchards,
Green Ribbon Settings - Images
Herb Gardens
Green Ribbon Settings - Nature: water, woodland, meadow
The illustrations and suggestions on this and the following
three pages present some approaches and possibilities for
applying the ‘Green Ribbon’ vision to real locations and
situations within the project area. Many of these
opportunities are discussed further in Part 2.6
Roundabouts can
also be sites for
ecological planting
and water
Colley Park
Woodlands could
extend further into
Parson Cross Park,
and be managed
with coppicing
Woodland in Foxhill Park
Foxhill: Woodland projects in
the area between Cowper Ave
and Holme Lane (Grimsell);
also possible use of the area
called ‘The Orchard’ for nature
and water
Foxhill Park
Hedgerows can be re-introduced
to some open spaces, revealing
old field boundaries
Tongue Gutter
Tongue Gutter valley and brook
form a wildlife corridor of
citywide importance; it needs
dedicated management, and
can be a valuable education
resource too. An outdoor
classroom or centre could be
located at the main ‘ribbon’
Parson Cross Park
Birley Edge
Can make a feature of
geological outcrops,
wildflowers and
bird-watching along
District Centre
Meadow planting on Wolfe Rd
Ecological meadow
planting can link
Parson Cross Park to
new developments
in Falstaff and
The Rose Garden area
in the park can be an
ecology zone or
community garden
Longley Park
The green link to
Southey Green is
another important
nature corridor
“Foxes in Tongue Gutter and
Parson Cross Park”
“There is a big Monkey Puzzle tree near
Foxhill School, and a new one in Parson
Cross Park”
“I like the Spring bulbs in public places”
“Woodland could be the source for
locally-made benches, and be good for
learning about nature”
SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage
Systems): Careful water
management can be a feature of
new developments, such as Falstaff
and Adlington. There will be
benefits to biodiversity and
potential to create semi-natural
water/wetland zones in green
spaces such as Parson Cross Park
Green Ribbon Settings - productive landscapes: orchards, community gardens
Streets of rhubarb and strawberries
“There are orchards in Ecclesfield”
Community orchard
Community orchard and gardens
“There are orchards in Ecclesfield”
Colley Park
Community Orchard in Foxhill Park
Foxhill: Possible community
allotments, vegetable and
herb gardens in public access
areas - e.g. the grounds of the
new PCT Medical Centre, the
garden of Foxhill TARA and
public open spaces in the
Grimsall area
Foxhill Park
Food and Nature
garden managed
by school pupils
Birley Edge
Food from the wild
and foraging in
Tongue Gutter; herb
walks and collecting
Community herb
gardens at the
District Centre
Tongue Gutter
District Centre
Parson Cross Park
Community garden and play
area near Halifax Road
Food-growing in
school grounds;
learning and
healthy eating
Raised-bed planters (on streets)
can incorporate seating and
reference former farming
A linear orchard
along the green link
to Southey Green
Herbs can be grown
and collected locally,
for the herbalist
service at The Foxhill
Medical Centre
“Home-grown tastes a lot better”
“The nearest allotments are in
Herries Road, Southey; there is a
Saturday kids growing club”
“Plant fruit trees in parks and open
spaces such as brooks, so that kids
can take and eat heathier”
Linear community
orchards can link
Parson Cross Park to
new developments
in Falstaff and
Longley Park
The Rose Garden area
in the park can be an
community garden or
ecological zone
“We need more allotments
and growing clubs”
“More food growing is a good idea - but
not on the roadside”
A ‘green apprentice’
scheme is suggested, with
a focus on the food
settings as well as the
ecological settings,
within the Green Ribbons
Vines and other productive climbing
plants on structures in public spaces
A linear orchard
along the ‘green
ribbon’ through
Longley Park
“Blackberries grow into my garden”
“There are some great vegetable gardens
‘round here”
“Buses to take people Bilberry picking;
this used to happen from Foxhill”
“I look after two other gardens as well.
There could be an organised buddy
system for sharing the work in gardens.
This would help elderly people who can’t
take care of them anymore”
Green Ribbon Settings - green streets and gateways: trees, verges, thresholds
Gateway designs can help
enhance green streets
Roundabouts and
streets can be sites
for sustainable
water management;
this means less
Foxhill: Green Streets
can be developed on
important pedestrian
routes, such as Wilcox
Rd, Foxhill Rd, Cowper
Rd, Wolfe Rd and
Browning Rd. This can
involve street-tree and
verge planting, as well
as seating - especially
needed on the steeper
Colley Park
‘Fingers’ of green streets permeate the
new housing developments in Foxhill,
linking to the countryside
Foxhill Park
Streets of rhubarb and strawberries
Tongue Gutter
A ‘green apprentice’
scheme can have a role to
play in maintaining the
streets sections within the
Green Ribbons, as well as
the ecology and food
District Centre
Parson Cross Park
Birley Edge
Green verges could be
used, for planting, by
groups and individuals
Street Champions:
a possible means
of helping the
success of the
green street links
Grass verges on streets can be transformed
by new planting; they can also play a part in
sustainable drainage solutions
“Can the street parking for cars be
combined with green planted areas”
Involve young
people in planting
street trees, e.g.
along the
Margetson Road
link to Tongue
Gutter and Parson
Cross Park; more
engagement and
Halifax Rd is a big barrier,
dividing neighbourhoods;
one long-term vision is for a
green/park bridge, linked to
a community garden and
play area, on the eastern
side of the road
‘Greening’ of
Buchanan Road is
proposed along with
the building of new
housing at Falstaff
‘Fingers’ of green
streets will permeate
new housing
developments in
Falstaff , Adlington
and elsewhere
Longley Park
A ‘green city’ gateway
is another proposal
for Halifax Road. This
can be a distinctive,
large-scale planted
“When the council is resurfacing the
roads and pavements, they should
look at planting more trees”
Steel is combined with hedging and dry
stone walling to form a locally
distinctive combination of materials
“There used to be an old workers route
from Parson Cross, through Foxhill and
down to the river; Foxhill and Parson
Cross were more united then”
Boundaries to the streets can be clad with a mix of green-coloured materials, hedging
and stone walling, re-inforcing the local character and the continuity of the ‘ribbons
Green Ribbon Settings - viewing points and art spaces
Viewing points can celebrate
the impressive vistas in these
Colley Park
Foxhill: The neighburhood has
wonderful views over the city
and countryside, especially
from Birley Edge and Back
Edge. The route to Birley Stone
could host a series of small
viewing points/spaces,
possibly in conjunction with a
sculpture trail
New artist studios at
Knutton Road will
support local artists
who can have a part to
play in the creation of
public art. This may
take the form of
landmark pieces,
visible from other
parts of the city
Foxhill Park
Parson Cross Park
Birley Edge
A landmark sculpture
installation could be
located at the
‘gateway’ to Foxhill,
at the junction
between Foxhill Rd
and Halifax Rd
District Centre
Viewing points and
meeting points can be
located within the new
Falstaff residential
A ‘green city’ gateway is a
suggestion for the Halifax
Road. This can be a
distinctive, large-scale
planted structure - a living
sculptural wall.
Outdoor galleries may be
sited at a number of
locations, including the
main entrance area of
Parson Cross Park
Longley Park
Tongue Gutter
Delivery: Opportunities
Delivering a sustainable vision for the area is necessarily a collaborative effort involving many partners.
The mapping of opportunities for participation in the delivery of the People, Places + Spaces vision has
begun, but will expand and develop over time. Restoring a sense of shared community space is a way of
reconnecting people to their natural heritage and bringing back the ecological features that help define
a community’s identity and make it unique. The project should therefore seek to achieve ongoing and
sustained community participation in contributing to the transformation of Parson Cross and Foxhill
into a green asset to the city, the region, and beyond.
Healthy Living, Physical Activity and Green Ribbons: Already, within the neighbourhoods there are
active projects and groups tackling many facets of healthy living e.g. Healthy Cross, Healthy Living
Group (Foxhill Forum) and the activities based at the Foxhill Medical Centre. Plans are progressing for
the establishment of new Primary Care facilities in Foxhill and at the district centre (Chaucer Buchanan).
The former, especially, will present opportunities for integrating exercise, food and nature at the new
facility, and within the surrounding landscape. The new site is situated on, or close to, the East-West
green ribbon, and on the edge of Foxhill Park, opening up opportunities for creative, health-promoting
uses of greenspace, which can include physical activity, community gardening, medicinal/ culinary herb
growing etc.
Green Apprentices, Learning and Eco-Enterprises: One of the ideas for fulfilling the vision, promoting
stewardship and fostering community is for ‘green apprentices’ to be associated with the ‘green ribbon’
network. The role would be to initiate projects and actively engage community groups and individuals
in hands-on work and creative activities, making the ecological networks and productive landscapes,
(and their management, enhancement, learning support and celebration) part of everyday local life.
Sheffield has recently received government funding for one green apprentice; this represents the germ
of a scheme which could be expanded citywide - especially in the project area, to focus on the upkeep
of the Green Ribbon corridors.
‘GREAT’ - the Green
Ribbon Eco Action Team
“The practical skills provided by apprenticeships are every bit as important as university degrees, especially those
involved with the landscape and environment,” said Alan Titchmarsh. “As a former apprentice myself, I value
apprenticeships tremendously and am relieved and delighted that this initiative is underway.”
"Green spaces and green infrastructure should not be an added luxury. If we really are to tackle climate change,
protect both our environment and our health, green spaces need to be at the heart of our communities."
Margaret Beckett, Housing Minister
Negative perceptions of the area can in this way be challenged, and the profile of the neighbourhoods
raised by revealing the rich layers of ecology, history and memory, and by making a meaningful and
creative contributions to the public realm. This is also clearly rich terrain for learning activities. A
dedicated ‘green ribbon’ environmental education building, or outdoor classroom, would provide a focal
point for schools and other groups (such as BTCV and Sheffield Wildlife Trust). The suggested location for
such a facility is in the Holgate Crescent area of Tongue Gutter (photo right), which is at the meeting
point of the main ‘ribbon’ corridors.
Local economic activity can be nurtured too. The creation and maintenance of green infrastructure will
generate new and sustainable jobs in both the public and private sector as well creating desirable areas
to live and work. Opportunities for social enterprises may include local composting facilities, green
woodwork, charcoal production, farmers market, micro-breweries and other micro food businesses. A
recent report by CABE - Hallmarks of a sustainable city (March 2009) - argues that the creation and
maintenance of green infrastructure will generate new and sustainable jobs in the private sector, as well
as creating desirable areas to live and work, stimulating local business and attracting inward investment.
Investment in green roofs for example, would not only protect cities from flooding by absorbing heavy
rain, cool the air in summer, improve air quality and support biodiversity, but it would create many new
Holgate Crescent:
The meeting point of
the major Green
Ribbon pathways is
a site of opportunity
An example of a
sustainably built
education building.
Within living memory, wheat and
potatoes were grown in the Parson
Cross area. This photo shows a site in
Spain which combines food crops with
imaginative design of greenspace.
“Greening our towns and cities needs to be part of the Green New
Deal, as much as technology” Richard Simmons, CABE Chief
Executive, 2009
Delivery: Participation
Participation is key to the success of the vision; the four Green Ribbon ‘settings’ (right) providing a
useful focus for local projects and energies. Much of this content has also been presented in the
form of maps, in Part 2.5. Over time, individuals, groups and communities can put themselves ‘on
the map’ and help consolidate and expand this initial framework.
Urban food growing in community orchards, market gardens,
allotments, and school grounds, as well as in private gardens,
can have a range of social, environmental and economic
benefits, including reduced food miles. In Havana in Cuba a
radical city-wide approach to urban agriculture has been
pioneered for some years. Here food shortage was the driver for
the government to establish an Urban Agricultural department
which oversaw the city’s transformation of much of the open
land into cultivation. Roberto Perez, Permaculture star of the film
'The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil' visited
Sheffield in 2008 (pictured top left).
Below: 'Incredible Edible Todmorden' aims to make the West
Yorkshire town self sufficient in vegetables by 2018.
Ornamental planting in local parks, planters and flower beds
are being replaced with vegetables, herbs and fruit.
Above: Wortley Hall Walled Garden - a
few miles north of Parson Cross/ Foxhill,
and managed by Heeley City Farm
1. Nature: Woodland, Meadows, Water
The vision incudes enhanced management (coppicing, hedge-laying) and an increase in the woodland/tree cover
of Parson Cross and Foxhill. A major focus can be the Tongue Gutter valley and brook. A dedicated learning resource
could be provided - a hub for environmental education (and the arts) at the crossing point of the two strategic
‘Green Ribbons’ in Tongue Gutter. One way of encouraging more active use is through employing facilitators to
adopt a play-leadership role, to organise wildlife monitoring or to stimulate educational use by schools in the local
area. If suitable sites are identified for expanded woodland, then projects can be initiated to introduce species of
pioneer trees and shrubs. Woodland planting of this sort can offer screening and shelter for wildlife, while it can
also be harvested as biomass wood fuel or converted into charcoal for local consumption.
Meadows and ecological planting: Where land is expected to be vacant for more than a single growing season,
work by the University of Sheffield and Green Estate have shown how colourful and attractive herbaceous
perennials can prove cost-effective and popular. Planting of this nature has been taking place in Parson Cross/
Foxhill in recent years and; this could be much expanded upon, in a creative way, with more design input from
artists and local residents.
Potential partners include: Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Forest Partnership, Sheffield University, Green Estate,
2. Productive Landscapes, Orchards, Community Allotments + Herb Gardens
It is widely documented that urban food growing can have a range of social, environmental and economic benefits.
In cities as varied as Havana (Cuba) and New York, there has built up a strong tradition of co-operatively growing
fruit and vegetables on temporary and neglected sites. This practice is now taking root in cities and towns in the
UK, including Sheffield. ‘Abundance’ is a project to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit like apples, pear and
plums. Grow Sheffield is an active network of individuals and groups promoting urban organic food growing. LEAF
(Local Enterprises Around Food) began as a way to address the need for better access to fresh fruit and vegetables
in the north Sheffield area. Another inspiring example is that of Todmorden (’Incredible Edible Todmorden’) where
ornamental planting in local parks, planters and flower beds has been extensively replaced with vegetables, herbs
and fruit. The expansion of these activities in Parson Cross and Foxhill can be led by existing local projects and
initiatives. Some clear opportunities exist in relation to the new PCT facility on the edge of Foxhill Park, revival of
the food-growing garden at Foxhill TARA and linkages to the new supermarket. Also, food growing and ecological
planting in schools makes a positive contribution to the health, quality of life, outlook, well-being, activity and
development of children. Additional activities include engaging residents in planting linear/ community orchards
along the Green Ribbon network, especially in Parson Cross Park, Colley Park and Foxhill Park.
Potential partners include: GrowSheffield, Abundance, LEAF, The Three Parks Project, Healthy Cross/Foxhill Healthy
Living Group/Foxhill Medical Centre, Activity Sheffield, Sheffield Food Network, Transition Sheffield, Green Estate,
Heeley Farm (and Wortley Hall Walled Garden), SOAR
3. Green Streets and Gateways
Sections of ‘green streets’ are important - for their quality-of-life benefits and as connective parts of the linear
‘ribbons’. Inspiring examples from elsewhere include the ‘Green Streets’ project in Portland, Oregon, where the aim
was to redesign the existing streetscape and street planting to accommodate rainwater run-off. The results have
been effective and attractive (see Annex B). Trees and greened streets also help alleviate some of the most
undesirable characteristics of traffic corridors, such as vehicle exhausts (air pollution), flooding, and visual blight. To
be sustainable, physical improvements must be accompanied by raising awareness and the active engagement of
residents in participatory projects. For example young people might be involved hands-on in tree-planting and
tending some plots. In another way, creative mapping and audio-visual recording projects can be used to capture
change in the neighbourhoods. Stories and pictures could be shared as a long-term multi-generational,
street-based, cultural identity project.
Potential partners include: Local schools, CHILYPEP, Urban Lynx, City-wide media resources, (new) Library Learning
Centre, SOAR, SCC
4. Viewing Points and Art Spaces
For this ‘strand’ it will be desirable to make a link with the new artist studios at Knutton Road. Projects may involve
longer term artist residencies in neighbourhoods, open spaces and even streets, possibly utilising traditional craft
skills such as dry stone walling to create artworks and other integral features across the new developments.
Creative interventions such as these are explored more fully in Annex D. Viewing points (and landmark structures)
have the potential to become significant city destinations.
Potential partners include: Knutton Road Studios, Yorkshire Art Space, SOAR, SCC, Tourist Office
Delivery: Ownership
Green and Open Spaces Strategy “Sheffield’s Great Outdoors” (excerpts from the draft framework, 2008)
This document has been produced through a process of partnership and dialogue. The detail that has
emerged can only be delivered through continuing this shared approach, and for there to be clear
‘ownership’ of the strategic vision. In this section, we highlight a number of ‘paths’ that the different
partners can take to ensure that the vision becomes a reality for the residents, and help make these
neighbourhoods more sustainable and better places to live.
1. Council, Agencies and Developers
The coordination of a clear programme of work to ensure development proposals respond to all the aspects of the
vision, in a joined-up way. (e.g. plans for housing should ensure that shared food-growing facilities are provided,
and support for nature/the water environment); A point system could be developed for developers (a green ribbon
point system) to measure the degree to which the development interacts with, and supports, the green ribbon/
green infrastructure ideal.
Ensure that the content of this document is included in all relevant council strategies and plans, including the
emerging Local Development Framework and Green + Open Space Strategy (see box on right). Quality, as well as
safety, is key to degree of satisfaction with parks and open space. This has a bearing on the use of green space to
improve health and quality of life.
Facilitate the establishment of a long term group of local stakeholders to progress, champion and monitor the
implementation of the strategic vision.
Support local people so that they are able to engage in the delivery of the vision e.g. through seminars, workshops,
site-visits and displays of relevant inspirational material; support for the green economy.
Management and maintenance; the setting up of a comprehensive maintenance regimes, including the immediate
repair or replacement of run down, damaged or vandalised facilities. Continuing to address the issue of dogs being
exercised off a lead, and the misuse of green spaces by motorbikes. Work in partnership with the community and
police to discourage tipping, scrambling, littering and other anti-social behaviour.
2. Residents and the Community
If the proposals contained in this document are to be achieved, it is important that local residents and stakeholders
are committed to taking ownership of the vision.
Take the lead in establishing a group with an appropriate structure to ensure the long term ownership of this vision
document, and to promote and monitor its implementation.
The TARAs have an important role; they also have an interest in green and open spaces that improve the local
Healthy Living Groups, Medical Practices (especially Foxhill) and Healthy Cross to continue to expand their remit
SOAR - Environment + Liveability Theme Group and the Culture, Diversity and Arts Theme Group to play a lead role
in steering the strategy.
Young people: involvement and engagement of young people in the design and maintenance of their open spaces
is crucial to ensure they are high quality, diverse and sustainable.
Concluding Remarks
This vision for open space in Parson Cross and Foxhill
highlights many specific improvements, based on
community suggestions, which will help in the
transformation of the neighbourhoods. With
development and other investment coming to a number
of local sites, it is important that developers and
planners ensure that the strategic aspirations are
delivered through flexible, creative and joined-up
design of spaces. To ensure its long-term relevance, it
will be important to link this strategy/ vision with the
emerging citywide Green and Open Spaces Strategy (see
right), as well as with the Local Development
Outdoor learning is about providing experiences, real and first
hand, which can be very powerful in a number of respects.
Taking the simple example of the creation of a school nature
garden, this can be used to improve both practical and social
skills. Involving children from the start in the design, creation
and maintenance of a nature garden will require children and
adults to acquire new skills.
Outdoor physical activity and ‘green’ exercise in
the natural environment have many health
benefits. They contribute to the prevention of
heart disease; aiding patient recovery; tackling
obesity – and benefit our mental health. Simply
having more contact with the outdoors can help
to reduce stress - boosting mood, self-esteem and
other psychological benefits. Being amongst
visible greenery, helps emotional well-being.
Maintaining our views of Sheffield’s green spaces,
its surrounding hills and the profusion of mature
woodlands and street trees can help ensure that
these benefits are spread widely. Green and open
spaces offer the widest range of activities able to
support individual needs – from gardening (in
allotments); to formal sports; to informal games
and play. Facilitating and encouraging
participation will always be necessary however.
Events, such as health walks, or conservation
days, help extend those activities to the widest
range of people.....It is clear that higher quality
spaces are more able to promote healthy active
participation than poorly maintained,
under-used ones. People tend to visit places that
are already popular and well-used.
Involving communities in decisions will help foster local ownership and local spaces that feel part of the
community, creating a sense of pride. This can work to encourage wider range of users, enhancing diversity and
inclusion and community cohesion. Communities who keep an eye on their local spaces are able to help discourage
improper use and ensure that local safety and security problems are nipped in the bud. The Green Pennant Award
acknowledges efforts of community sector in managing green spaces
The planning and improvement of green and open spaces is usually based around individual sites. However,
planning the means of access to those spaces – using the ‘gaps’ between them – is vital to getting the most out of
them. In combination, green and open spaces together with the links between are able to be thought of as part of a
larger scale ‘green connections network’. This connections network ultimately extends as wide as the city boundary
and beyond and may even form part of a regional network of ‘Green Infrastructure’, linking the urban and the rural
environments. At a local level there are both formal and informal networks linking green spaces with
neighbourhoods and communities. To get the most out of green and open spaces, these connections need to be
safe, attractive and easily accessible – and designed both for recreation and for movement of people at various
scales. As green and open spaces are designed to serve a range of different users, so does the network of
connections. At a local level there will be an intricate network of connections along streets, footpaths and cycle
ways. The majority of routes close to home will be along these. The quality of the street scene, local provision of
amenity spaces and the visibility of connections are all important in encouraging people to use this network.
City Planning and Urban Design: An important aspect of the ‘People, Places, Spaces’ strategy is the need to
ensure that any future development re-inforces the vision. This is dependant on planners and urban
designers, along with local people, having sufficient influence to ensure that the core aspects of the vision are
introduced to the open space areas within developments, and also provides support for the wider green
network. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) provides for involving the community in the
preparation and revision of the Sheffield Development Framework’s local development documents and in
consultations on planning applications. The Core Strategy was adopted by the Council on 4 March 2009, and
is the first of the planning documents of the Sheffield Development Framework.
Example Project - Parson Cross Park
Temporary/Ephemeral Projects
Palettes: Materials
The materials presented here are incorporated into the proposed new designs for the main entrance to Parson Cross Park (as
described in Part 3.3). The palette is also intended to be used in conjunction with the existing neighbourhood streetscene palettes
(Annex E), and has a strong relationship to the streetscene ‘valley’ palette.
Stainless Steel
Rebar for
frameworks and
other structures
Welded hollow box-section Cor-ten steel elements.
Laser-cut pattern for lighting effect. Lighting to be
internal low power LED. Also possibly a milled pattern
on face, to reflect the old field names and boundaries.
Stainless Steel
mesh for
Pre-grown Privet or Holly
topiary hedging, 2m high.
Stainless Steel
rope for
structures and
Steel and/or vitreous
enamel ‘frames’, fixed
to hidden posts.
Emerging in front of
the ivy screen.
Local South Yorkshire style dry stone walling,
capped in part by a locally reclaimed stone
gate-post, added to emphasise the arrow set
into the wall.
Green Screen: Pre-grown Ivy screens (Hedera
Helix Woerner), 2.3m high by 1.2m wide.
Supplied on a galvanised steel framework.
Powder-coated steel or timber posts.
Brick is an
important part of
the local visual
Green oak can be
used for street
furniture and
Vitreous enamel
panels are
extremely durable
and can be used
to add colour as
well aid legibility
and interpretation
Palettes: Colour, Lighting, Planting
Colour is a fundamental part of the visual ‘language’, and will be used to contribute to
the visual delight of specific spaces, to the rhythm and connectivity of the public realm
and the overall sense of place. Movement through spaces and landscapes will be
enhanced by bold colour massing (blocks) and considerate groupings/ arrangements of
materials. There is potential for surprise in the discovery of incidental elements or
objects of contrasting material, colour, form, texture and light. Applied colour will be
considered and introduced as a means of creating visual contrast and/or, for example,
as a means of contributing to the overall identity (or coding) of a family of artistic
interventions. In keeping with the central theme of the vision for the public realm,
extensive use of the colour green is important as re-inforcement. The proposed
increased level of planting along the ‘green ribbons’ will add more greenery to the area,
as will the green roofs on the new library and supermarket. This can be further
emphasised through signage, cladding, railings and street furniture/ lighting. In
addition, the colours of the productive landscape - harvest reds and yellows - are
natural associates, introducing contrasting colour to signal or mark interventions,
crossings, gateways or changes of direction.
Some relevant
examples of creative
public lighting
With reference to the Hilltop and Valley palettes (Annex E), the above colour range
conforms well with the ‘Valley’ selections. This is appropriate, as the ‘green ribbons’ are
partly defined by valley corridors, or by green links (such as between Parson Cross Park
and Colley Park) that have a valley-like character. Green streets too have the quality of
‘valleys’ through housing/ urban areas. In the vicinity of the district centres (incl. the
new library, square, supermarket) the blue/grey of the ‘Hilltop’ palette can, and does,
emerge to be the dominant colour theme.
Broadly the use and application of colour is informed and influenced as follows:
› Palettes: Hilltop and Valley merging/overlapping, where appropriate, to introduce a
wider range and possibilities of colour, texture, contrast and patina.
› Planting: native planting eg. dogwoods, roses, evergreen hedges and planted
structures, orchards and productive landscapes – the colour and seasonality of food
and fruit, leaf and blossom, meadows and herb gardens.
› Lighting: animating art and street structures (seating elements, markers and creative
interventions) and marking meeting points, places of interest, landmark buildings,
and identifying routes. Such lighting should use low-energy solutions, including solar
lighting units and integrated LED strips.
› ‘Splashes’ of (primary/applied) colour will emerge in artworks within outdoor gallery
structures (eg. at Chaucer Buchanan Square), at crossing points (eg. using
thermoplastic paint), along routes (markers and sitting/vantage spaces) and
hoardings (around new developments eg. Library Learning Centre).
› Temporary installations and annual events/ celebrations offer the colour of human
activity as well as possibilities for spectacle and visual delight.
Planting Design Example: Suggestions for colour within coppiced Woodland
Edge zones:
Clumps of Sumach – Rhus typhina, interplanted with perennials such as
Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ and Solidaster luteus (creamy yellow), Digitalis purpurea,
Cornus spp.
May-June: Flowering colour. Sept-Nov : Autumn foliage and late-flowering
3.3 Example Project:
Parson Cross Park Entrance
The park covers an area of approximately 26 hectares within the post war housing estate.
It has varied topography and ecology, and boasts some dramatic views. It became a public
park in the 1950s upon the completion of the surrounding houses. In living memory, the
land was used for growing wheat and potatoes.
The valley of Tongue Gutter is considered part of the park but separated from it by
Deerlands Avenue. It is a natural ribbon of countryside in an urban setting. It is
ecologically very rich, and also forms part of the long-distance Trans-Pennine Trail.
Parson Cross Park is at the core of the neighbourhood, but due to its unwelcoming and
hidden entrances is perhaps underused and undervalued. The proposed re-design of the
main entrance area is intended to celebrate the park and highlight its status as the most
important local greenspace, central to the network of ‘green ribbons’. The design rationale
incorporates many aspects of the strategy such as: green streets/thresholds (of living,
growing structures, trees and hedges); art/viewing spaces and the specific materials
palette of Corten steel, dry stone walls, topiary hedging and ivy screens. Also in evidence
is the the use of colour (shades of green) and symbolism (arrows) to reinforce the theme.
3.3 (cont)
Parson Cross Park Entrance: option one
A MEETING PLACE OF PATHWAYS AND MATERIALS: The proposed new design for the main Buchanan Road entrance creates a safer and
greener zone. In this proposal, the entire length of the steel fence (on the western side of the entrance) is screened with pre-grown panels of ivy. The
section of this fence adjacent to the road has an impressive new structural ‘sign’ which combines steel, stone-walls, ivy screens and hedging. This
palette of materials is promoted throughout the strategy and has strong local relevance. The ‘arrow’ symbolism is another unifying element of the
strategy, in this case becoming part of a fusion of forms createing a sense of dynamism and direction. A new accessible pathway is suggested alongside the entrance roadway (at each side), reducing the risk to pedestrians from vehicle traffic entering and leaving the park. Specimen trees (Elms - see
note) are planted at each side of the inner entrance gate, and new seating (arrow form) is installed at a number of spots, using dry-stone walling
and/or pre-cast concrete, with slatted oak capping. These seat-forms could be replicated elsewhere in the area, as a distinctive local feature.
A further possibility within this proposal is the placement of a series of heritage lamp-posts (‘reclaimed’ from the Falstaff HMR scheme or elsewhere)
on one side of the entrance way. These are a memorable feature of the surrounding area, and would serve to enhance the sense of local
distinctiveness. A further feature is a series of (vitreous enamelled) steel panels or frames along the ivy screen. These relate to the green ribbon
‘setting’ of art/viewing spaces, and can form an outdoor gallery showcasing local art, artists and community contributions. When not in use as a
gallery, these elements add bright splashes of colour, highlighting the green ribbon pathway, to which this entrance zone belongs. Creative lighting:
the Cor-ten steel elements are lit from within (with LEDs), creating a dramatic night appearance using very fine cut pattern. Additionally, the gallery
‘frames’ could have integrated lighting.
Pre-grown ivy screens
Enamelled sheet steel ‘frame’
elements, mounted on hidden
The place which is now the park entrance was
formerly called ‘Elm Green’. It is therefore
proposed to include elm trees in the design.
Since the advent of Dutch Elm Disease, elms
have practically disappeared from the landscape.
However, over the past 20 years, there has been
a slow renaissance through the development of
cultivars resistant to this disease.
Pre-grown clipped
hedge (privet)
Box-section Corten steel forms
Existing pavement on
Buchanan Road
Reclaimed stone gate-posts
Dry stone walling
(local style)
The design below places a perforated steel form at
the interface with the pavement/road, for greater
visual impact. Also shown is a Breedon gravel
pathway along one side of the entranceway; this
can be repeated on the opposite side
Two of the existing timber bollards at the entrance to be removed; the others replaced
with carved stone features, in a style similar to the stone markers that are present
throughout the park and which were created with involvement from park users.
Alternatively, it is suggested that the timber bollards be adapted to accept temporary
flagpoles for use in highlighting festivals and events in the park. The street frontage,
verges and road crossing are also in need of attention. These can be tackled as part of a
wider Buchanan Road streetscape project, or a focused effort to strengthen the
‘green-link’ to Longley Park. Extra seating can be added nearer the road, adjacent to the
new accessible pathways.
The designs presented here derive from the strategic vision and are easily transferable in whole or part - to the other entrances of the park (Adlington, Deerlands etc.), and
indeed to other parks and green spaces in Parson Cross and Foxhill
This illustrates the placement of the
reclaimed lamp-posts as a functional,
sculptural installation. The lamp-posts can
play host to the outdoor gallery (enamelled
steel plates), in lieu of the ivy-clad fence.
3.3 (cont) Parson Cross Park Entrance: options two + three
This ‘tower’ structure is 8 to 10m high and
largely consists of interwoven mesh of
stainless steel rope (see section 3.1).The form
is fluid-like and reflects the dynanism and
fluidity inherent in the concept of the ‘green
ribbons’, and relates especially to the ‘setting’
of green streets/ thresholds.
The piece is intended to become a vegetated
structure as climbing plants gradually occupy
all of the mesh structure, becoming a living
sculptural piece. As in option one, the long
fence on the western side of the entrance
zone is to be covered with ivy panels.
Uplighting will also allow the dramatic
structure to be visible at night.
This final option for the entrance zone features dry
stone walling topped by colourful banded vitreous
enamel or aluminium panels, consisting of a random
arrangement of different shades of green. The intention
is both to screen the adjacent property, and to create
an eye-catching entrance feature. The choice of
materials and colour derives from the dedicated
palettes (sections 3.1 + 3.2), with the colour symbolism
supporting the green theme.
Uplighting set into the top of the stone wall will turn
this into a dramatic feature at night.
3.4 Temporary/Ephemeral Projects
Urban Beach, Bristol, 2007
Events: A programme of temporary works provides an opportunity to continue the creative momentum of
People, Places + Spaces. This can raise awareness of the strategic vision, offer arts-based activities, events and
installations for public participation and provide a creative backdrop to the ongoing redevelopment. Possibilities
exist for commissioning facilitators to work with residents and school groups; and for artists to create bespoke
temporary artworks and interventions, in response to specific public realm sites across Parson Cross and Foxhill.
Some examples of possible projects include: Annual events/ rituals/ performance, Green Fairs on Chaucer
Buchanan Square, Apple Days, Tree Dressing, Maypole Events, an Urban Beach at Chaucer Buchanan Square,
Street Parties – organised by residents/TARAs and supported by Streets Alive, Projections and Light installations –
on buildings and trees.
Interventions: Large-scale ‘super signage’ on prominent hilltops such as Foxhill’s Birley Edge – pointers to the
green ribbon network, arousing curiosity and interest of a wider audience; Markings in Meadows – creative design
of wildflower meadows; Crops – utilising empty sites for temporary crop plantations; Street Signage; Billboard art;
Utilising lighting columns as outdoor galleries for photographic works; Bus shelters – green roofs/walls and other
adornments; Hoardings; Temporary outdoor exhibition spaces; Ephemeral (nature-based) sculpture trails;
Portable landscapes - Portable art; Temporary text-based works at crossing points, meeting points, street corners
Temporary and
Permanent Table
Tennis - bringing
spaces alive
Recording, Presenting, Documenting: Dedicated gallery space (in disused shop units), community art shop,
Documenting change - photographic project conducted by residents to record the evolving developments and
building projects. Time-lapse and webcam-based projects, Web-based projects documenting food memories,
holidays, people, places, spaces; Production of video – ‘The Healthy Walkers Story’; Audio walks (for local people
and visitors) – including memories, dreams, reflections and aspirations.
Creative Flag Installations at the Eden Project
Artist: Angus Watt
Sites on Back Edge and Parson Cross Park
could be identified for such works.
Pop-Up Kiosks
The first KiosKiosK - designed by
the Hemingways (Wayne &
Geraldine) and supported by the
Mayor of London - located for
two months (July to September
2009) outside London's City Hall.
Offering rent-free space for
people with creative products to
sell such as ceramics, artworks
and fashion, helping new
businesses with great ideas to
get a step-up on the ladder to
GrowSheffield/ Abundance: Food-Based Art Projects
Productive Landscape Community Events
Hedge Sculptures
Temporary Installations of green roofs and creative living walls
A ‘Green Ribbons’ Festival
A celebration of the ‘People, Places + Spaces’
vision, bringing together nature, food, greening of
the streets and art – perhaps linked to a harvest
festival. It would be a day of fun, learning,
awareness raising, guided walks (along the ribbon
routes), activities, workshops, sharing of recipes
and ideas, selling of locally grown food and
produce and much more.
ANNEX A: Community Engagement and Research
Healthy Cross +
Foxhill Healthy
Walking Group
ANNEX A (cont): Community Engagement and Research
1. Assessment of past engagement. This has been the starting point, and reveals valuable information and
pointers for the project. This step also ensures that there is a minimum of duplication (reducing the risk
of consultation fatigue). Further community engagement needs to add value to on-going work by
various bodies. Our distillation of the relevant material from past engagement can be downloaded from
the project website:
2. Project Website and Diary – live at end January 2009. Documentation is also made available to the
project team/group via the website. Content may include links to YouTube for hosting video material,
and site can host photographic/audio/video material developed as part of the engagement work with
groups (see below). Also links to other relevant web content. It is intended that the site will continue to
operate over the long term. The purpose is to inform (through sharing concepts and ideas) and provide
a platform for input/ comment. In particular, the diary will document the artists’ visits and explorations
of the area.
3. Workshops/ ‘Media + Memories’ Project: It is hoped to undertake this project with members of the
following reference groups: Healthy Walking Group (Parson Cross Park); Youth Forum/Chilypep (contact:
Sharmaine Bowling). As a participatory process, the workshops will explore, through dialogue,
responses and views relating to the local area. In addition, contributions of media (video, sound and
photos), and memories (written/ recorded) will be encouraged. In the briefings/workshops with the
groups, we will offer advice and assistance on methods of recording. The overall aim is to enable
participants to contribute to the development of the creative public realm strategy. The digital media
will be collected for presentation on the project website and elsewhere (eg. public exhibition/display)
4. Project postcards: This will be a series of postcards intended to raise interest in the project and the
website, as well as to renew interest in the regeneration/ re-building projects. The postcard will be
produced early in February. Distribution will be via local libraries, groups, schools and shops, doctors
surgeries, and also at city centre locations.
5. Newspaper: A special edition in tabloid format will be produced in early March to present the initial
ideas to a wide audience. It will present detailed information in accessible graphics, and provide an
opportunity for residents to respond to the strategy concepts, and the designs for creative
augmentation of Parson Cross Park & Chaucer Buchanan Square & Library. [NOTE - funding was not
available to produce this; a summary leaflet and further postcards/flyers to be produced instead]
6. Other publicity/ information – including articles in ‘5 Alive’ , Route 42, Foxhill News, local BBC etc.
7. Stakeholder Involvement: Potential Community Stakeholders - eg. SOAR, Environment + Liveability
Theme Group (‘Greener’ projects, community gardens etc), Foxhill Forum, Foxhill TARA, Margetson &
District TARA, Old Parson Cross TARA Parson Cross Community Development Forum. Professional
stakeholders – incl. SCC Landscape Architects, University Landscape Architecture and Architecture
Depts, Roger Nowell (SUDS Strategy for Falstaff, Deep Pits experience etc), Bob Bray (SUDS Consultant),
Highways (Nick Silvani, regarding Adlington Road crossing point), Places for People/Letts Wheeler,
Eventus, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, FAT, Mecanoo Architects, Barratt Homes, Proctor Matthews (Falstaff ),
Places for People (Adlington), PCT, English Partnerships (Foodstore), Sheffield Homes.
(not including the many residents who contributed, but are not listed here by name)
> Formal Project Support: Miranda Plowden, Steve Birch, Jonathan Ulley, Sharon Batty, Amy Wynne,
Dave Arch, Alison Rayner (SCC, NSRT), Andrew Skelton, Dan Hartley, Richard Bulloss, Vicky Penn, Nick
Silvani, Chris Roebuck, Lesley Webster (SCC Officers, various departments)
> Members of the Chaucer Buchanan (library and square) project group
> Adam Matich, Mark Wilde and Jill Lilley – Foxhill Forum
> Susan Sisson and Sarah Larssen – SOAR
> Clare McManus (Eventus)
> Winnie Cartwright and Norma Ashmore – local residents, Margetson TARA and Parson Cross Forum
> Sharmaine Bowling and Bethan Lacey at Chilypep
> Members of Area Wide Youth Parliament
> Tom Broadhead (Park Ranger)
> Parson Cross Park Healthy Walking Group
> Jim Wainwright, Ken Bulmer and others – Foxhill residents
> Members of Environment and Liveability Theme Group (SOAR)
> Members of the Culture Diversity and Arts Theme Group (SOAR)
> Lena Woolass – local resident and artist
> Mandy Neville and others – Foxhill Medical Centre/Healthy Living Patients Group
> Louise Ashmore, and others - Healthy Cross and Health Champions
> Demex contractors (Documentation of Falstaff houses demolition)
> Andy Dykes – Sheffield Futures
> Jo McAllister – Grant Associates (Landscape Designer: Falstaff Scheme)
> Rachael Dodd – Yorkshire Artspace Society
> Bob Bray – SUDS consultant (Falstaff Scheme)
> Anne-Marie Culhane – Grow Sheffield
> Activity Sheffield
> Jon Bradley – Sheffield Museum Service
> Owen Garretty - Sheffield Wildlife Trust
ANNEX A (cont): Community Engagement and Research
ANNEX B: Additional Example Projects - Chaucer Buchanan Sq
Plan View
Proposal for a ‘green’ structure and open-air gallery in Chaucer Buchanan
Square. This structure will become a defining feature - a focal point - for the
public realm strategy. The welded stainless-steel structure spans the central
planted bed in the square, and has two elements, at different levels. The
two parts are visually related, enhance this dynamic corner, and also play
host to seating and ‘gallery’ features.
Climbing plants (Clematis and Honeysuckle) will gradually cause the
structures to green over, to become a ‘green screen’ akin to the proposal for
Parson Cross Park and the living walls of the nearby planned supermarket.
Contained within the framework is a single impressive specimen Willow
tree, referencing abundance of this species in nearby Tongue Gutter and
Parson Cross Park.
Planting schemes for the rest of the ‘L’ shaped bed are outlined later.
Outdoor gallery
structure, shown
without planting
An alternative proposal involves
a ‘green tower’ structure, as
previously described for Parson
Cross Park Entrance. This consists
of a mesh-like steel rope
structure, and will gradually
green over, to form a living
sculpture, whose flowing form
contrasts with the rigid pattern
of the square and library.
ANNEX B (cont): Additional Example Projects - Chaucer Buchanan Sq
Hoardings (construction site boundaries) offer an opportunity for imaginative, large scale, temporary art works to some, or all, of the future schemes proposed for Parson Cross and Foxhill.
We outline here a number of proposals specifically for the hoardings to the Chaucer Buchanan Library Learning Centre site. The are sufficiently adaptable for other sites across the two neighbourhoods.
1. 'Street Gallery’
A showcase, using specially designed frames, for some of the visuals and ideas within the strategy, as well as some of the photographic images (and text) produced by the artists, the Parson Cross Healthy Walking Group, Area
Wide Youth Parliament and participants from Foxhill. The images could be in collage form and relate to the character of Parson Cross and Foxhill. Material: dibond, 'framed' and appropriately attached. The idea is that the
display would change over time, and present new imagery from local schools and other contributors.
2. ‘Green Streetscape’
In addition to the application of visual material there is an opportunity to incorporate the ‘Green Ribbon’ theme of the strategy into these proposals. ‘Cloaking’ sections of hoarding by planting ivy wall panels and ready-made
evergreen hedgerow panels (topiary) will enliven and soften the rigid linear edge of the building site. As well as contributing a ‘living wall’ element to the streetscape, this will make a tangible link to some of the ideas for
artworks described in the strategy. Upon completion of the development it is anticipated that all elements of the installation (particularly the living ones) can be removed and re-used (transplanted) elsewhere.
3. 'Rooms with a View’
Short 'interruptions', or ‘meeting points’, are cut into the linear facade of the hoarding to create viewing spaces that allow participants access over the threshold of the barrier, and a very small way into the development site.
The narrow cut-out sections of hoarding could be re-erected inside, or perpendicular to, the boundary to create an articulated edge to the site. It is proposed that the arrowhead shaped, ‘cage-like’, spaces will be bounded by
a simple, but effective, welded mesh material such as square-mesh structural rebar. These ‘reclaimed spaces’ could, in some instances, become furnished rooms, small gardens or patio seating areas. They can be closed off at
night. The ‘rooms’ would be positioned and orientated to maximize the viewing potential of the site operations.
3b ‘Audio Streams’ – In conjunction with the ‘rooms’, a simple button-activated sound piece is installed. This will be a collection of memories, dreams, hopes, reflections, possibly gathered as part of a schools-based process,
and feeding into the planned SOAR dvd.
4. 'Surface Pattern' - The hoardings become an enormous 'canvas' that is covered with specially designed wallpaper. The wallpaper could have a variety of designs and styles. Some might simply have pattern and colour, some
may have identifiable images - perhaps transforming part of the hoarding into a visual representation of bookcases or activity inside a library, or super-sized books from floor to the top of the hoarding. Or the wallpaper could
be a visual representation of sitting room walls - turning the inside out. Or it could be a giant-sized version of newsprint publication as well as other (local?) newspapers and newsletters. The pasted-on graphics can be
produced cheaply using bill-board printing techniques.
5. ‘New Centre – This possibly combines with the previous proposals; the idea being to lay lines, on the ground, through surrounding areas. These converge at the site - at the ‘rooms’. The idea of ‘new centre’ is reinforced. A
motif from the strategy can be used; the material would probably be thermoplastic (road-marking) paint, using stock readily available from highways contractors.
ANNEX B (cont): Additional Example Projects: Chaucer Buchanan Sq
Described here are three options for the planting of the main soft landscape area in
Chaucer Buchanan Square. One scheme is a functional wetland-edge zone, designed
to receive run-off from the higher part of the square. The second option is pleached
lime with coppiced dogwood and willow, while the third proposal is an arid,
climate-change-proof herb area, which can be managed as a community herb
garden. This could be combined with planting of vines which are here shown trained
on wires between (locally-) reclaimed lamp-posts. The pleached limes are also shown
trained on a structure of this sort. Much of this proposed planting references local,
naturally occurring plant communities, especially from Tongue Gutter
WETLAND PLANTING (with fern/moss zones)
Plant List:
Wetland: Agrostis stolonifera, Caltha palustris, Filipendula
ulmaria, Hydrocotyl vulgaris, Iris pseudoacorus, Juncus spp.,
Scirpus lacustris, Mentha aquatica.
Fern/Moss: Adiantum pedatum, Alchemilla mollis,
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum, Dryopteris cristata,
Rannunculus ficaria, Polypodium vulgare
Canopy of semi-mature small-leafed pleached Lime trees (Tilia cordata
‘Greenspire’), with an understory of ornamental coppice (listed below), which
references Tongue Gutter flora. Groundcover of Ivy (Hedera helix) or Vinca
minor ‘Alba’ (periwinkle).
Species list:
ANNEX B (cont): Additional Example Projects
Foxhill Medical Centre (PCT)
Context: These were produced in response to a request for indicative designs for a public art
spend linked to the construction of the new Medical Centre. It has been suggested that the
setting for creative work(s) should be in the vicinity of the new centre, with the focus on links
to the park and the neighbourhood, as well as on the PCT’s health promotion priorities.
Concept 1: Works which define a walking route - such as a ‘measured mile’ through the park.
This idea is based on successful examples elsewhere e.g Knowle West Health Park in Bristol. A
circular/ loop route is marked out, beginning and ending at the Medical Centre, requiring a
minimum of four ‘markers’ (Start/End, 1/4 mile, 1/2 mile, 3/4 mile). The one-mile route can be
suitable for walking or running. The markers are the art element. These features, of robust
material, can have a visual style that relates to the neighbourhood (and its distinctive material
palette), yet also clearly define this special ‘health’ route. The idea of ‘milestones’ is suggested utilising locally derived rock types. The carved stone markers in Parson Cross Park are a
precedent for this - though the measured mile markers would need to be much more
prominent, possibly involving a combination of materials. The distance-numerals could be
any one of a number of durable materials - ceramic, enamel, steel etc. If additional monies
were available, it would be appropriate to provide integrated seating (and possibly planting)
at the four points. There are also potential overlaps with the Foxhill Park Masterplan
"Keeping fit is not easy if you have limited mobility or recovering from ill health. Having a measured mile
means that once your GP has given the go-ahead - you can be off out the door to achieve your first
milestone - a 1/4 mile. No equipment to buy, a place to return and rest, medical help on-site - all of
these things remove the obstacles for the unconfident walker and provides encouragement to achieve
further distances. The success of the measured mile at Knowle West Health Park is clear to see with up to
40 walkers using it on the Monday 1 Heart Walk, and clear health improvements being reported with
regular use" Knowle West Health Park Manager, Bristol
Concept 2: Gateway/ Boundary augmentation. It is proposed to develop plans for creative
treatment of the gateway area(s), which may also include designs for part of the new site
boundary. Gateway designs are being developed for Parson Cross Park; these may have some
application at Foxhill Park as well. Rather than a barrier, the emphasis would be on invitation
and connection. The design details can be evolved with the participation of patients and staff
at the existing medical centre/doctors surgery. The site boundary on the steep section of
Foxhill Crescent may provide an opportunity for a rest/view/seating spot, overlooking the
new PCT building. Once again, the choice of materials can reflect the distinctive local palette.
The use locally of topiary hedging could influence part of the design.
One further aspect which is worth noting is the potential for a living roof on this building.
This may be physically accessible or simply visually accessible; in either case, there can be
creative intervention in the designs. Temporary interventions prior to, or associated with, the
construction phase may also be suitable, and could have a food-growing focus.
Development of motifs for
pathways and forms
ANNEX C: Sustainable Drainage
This section presents some of the issues and
design solutions relating to sustainable water
"Public spaces should be designed to incorporate a
balance of hard and soft landscape elements to meet
surface water challenges. Both planting and
surfacing should minimise surface water run-off in
addition to meeting other design requirements. For
example, opportunities to maximise permeable
paving, retrofit and maintain existing catch basins
have a part to play in hard landscaping. Ensuring
creative design of new and refurbished water features
such as lakes, ponds and wetlands networks can add
distinctive character to a site and increase its value for
people and wildlife."
CABE’s sustainable cities programme
Possibilities: There is an opportunity for a new
water-landscape within Parson Cross Park. This will
receive, hold and treat the run-off from the new
housing development at Falstaff, and at the same
time be an amenity for people and wildlife. In a way,
this is simply a restoration of a former stream/wetland
area at this location. Also, in other schemes (such as
Chaucer Buchanan Square), and within the wider
streetscape of Parson Cross/Foxhill, there is potential
for making water management an essential part of
the ‘creative public realm’, combining art, ecology and
community benefits.
These images illustrate some approaches to adapting the general streetscape
for water management e.g. by converting verges into wet-tolerant planting for filtration and rainwater retention. Furthermore, it is proposed that the
planted areas at the new district centre (Chaucer Buchanan Square) be part of
a sustainable drainage solution for surface water management.
Water as part of the
Creative Public Realm
It is clear that the impact of climate change has urgent implications for drainage and sewerage infrastructure in cities. This
means planning for appropriate solutions now, based on the
guiding principles of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS).
ANNEX D: Project Promotion
The People, Places + Spaces project has a dedicated website and
diary at
The project featured in the March 2009 edition of 5Alive and, in
April, the Foxhill newsletter - Route 42. Also in March, 10,000
postcards were printed for distribution across Southey + Owlerton
and throughout the city. The pair of postcards featured unusual, yet
distinctive, views of Parson Cross and Foxhill, and were intended to
publicise the project to residents, community groups and others in
the neighbourhoods and across Sheffield.
“People love the postcards. Already, we’ve had to ask for them to be
re-stocked twice” Foxhill Forum
“I’ve seen a picture in The Star, dated Monday 6th April which was taken on
Falstaff, and it as been made in to a postcard. I just wondered how could I
get some, as it is my grandma in the photo with the red scarf on. Thanks”
ANNEX E: Southey Owlerton Area Character Palettes
The ‘People, Places and Spaces’ materials palette has a strong relationship to the existing streetscape ‘valley palette’, described here.

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