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Dobbies Launch Parklets in the UK

22 May, 2015

The seeds were first sown in the USA, and they have since sprouted in cities across America from the Big Apple to Seattle – now the first ‘parklets’ are coming to the United Kingdom.

Edinburgh is the venue for two enchanting spaces in the Capital’s flagship thoroughfare of George Street. The two parklets – the term was coined in San Francisco when the first “parklet” was established in 2010 – will see space previously used for cars used in an imaginative way for people to enjoy instead.

Dobbies Garden Centres, Essential Edinburgh and The City of Edinburgh Council are getting together to create two mini gardens. The creative work has been taken on by Dobbies, who are designing, building and planting the urban gardens – with one themed to reflect the street’s high fashion offering and the other to emphasise its outstanding food and drink.

It’s an exciting experiment to show what can be done in a busy city centre street, and fits in with the ongoing one-year trial to look at various ways in which George Street can be an even more attractive and enticing place for both residents and visitors.

Each urban garden will be 12m x 4m in size, and they have been designed and planted by the experts from Dobbies Garden Centres to create peaceful, colourful, scent-filled oases in the heart of the city. One will be between Castle Street and Frederick Street and will be themed “Colours” to reflect fashion, with the other “Cocktails” to reflect the street’s hospitality offering situated between Frederick Street and Hanover Street.

Flowers, herbs, shrubs, trees will all be creatively employed along with quality seating, planters and garden structures to create a blaze of bold colour to be enjoyed by all. The urban gardens will be in situ until September when the traffic order which enables the George Street trial is due to end.

Andy King, Managing Director of Dobbies said: “These urban gardens show that whatever the size of the outdoor space you have, you can still do something wonderful with it.  We believe we’ve created mini oases in a space that was used for traffic in what is a UK first.

“Dobbies celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and we expect to see thousands, if not tens of thousands of people benefitting from the gardens over the summer.  Creating the parklets seemed like a very fitting way to thank the people of Edinburgh for their support over the last 150 years by bringing beautiful gardens into the heart of the city.”

City of Edinburgh Council Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “Recent changes to the layout of George Street have allowed shoppers, pedestrians and cyclists enjoy a relaxed, more attractive environment, and these gardens will really add to the street’s atmosphere.

“Our trial is all about making the city centre a better place for people to live, work, dine and shop, and spaces like these will provide passers-by with the perfect haven to enjoy.”

Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “This is a fantastic pilot and we are delighted that Dobbies has come on board as a partner. The gardens will be terrific spaces for people to enjoy, and will show what can be done in the street setting alongside some of the other things that are being trialled to bring the bars and cafes out onto the pavement to create a vibrant café culture.

“George Street is a great street, with stunning architecture and wonderful shops, bars and restaurants and we very much believe the urban gardens will be a further enhancement.”

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Dobbies Launch Parklets in the UK