Darley Street Shopping Area

Location: Bradford, West Yorkshire

In 2007 Bradford Metropolitan District Council began work on the modernisation of the pedestrian areas in the city’s central shopping area, including Darley Street. Last renovated in the 1980s, the concrete paving and other features were looking drab and unattractive. In an effort to encourage people into the heart of the city – employers as well as the general public – a new design incorporating quality infrastructure and trees was created by Bradford Council landscape architects. Public consultations were undertaken and an exhibition day held at the local shopping centre.

The aim was to create high quality streetscapes that would complement the surrounding architecture and prove attractive to pedestrians. The features specified as part of the new design included lighting, seating, bins, bollards, cycle racks, and of course trees. These were all set within a paving scheme based on the use of local Yorkshire stone juxtaposed against Chinese Granite kerbing.

Because the architect’s choice of paving was central the success of the Darley Street design, the GreenBlue Urban Castle tree grille was the ideal tree pit surface for the nine European Hornbeams that were planted as part of the project. The landscape architects wanted to move beyond the concrete rings they had used in the past and find a grille that could be integrated into the aesthetic of the scheme whilst still providing excellent strength and longevity. The Castle grille has a recessed design that allows the surrounding paving to be continued within the structure of the grille and over the top of the tree pit area. This is achieved without compromising the load bearing capacity of the grille, which is evident only by a slot running around the perimeter of the tree pit.

In addition to supplying Castle tree grilles for the scheme, GreenBlue Urban also provided the designers with advice on urban tree planting and helped them to create a tree pit design that would ensure the long term health of the trees whilst simultaneously protecting the integrity of the hard landscape.

Each planting made use of GreenBlue Urban RootCell structural soil cells to create an uncompacted rooting volume for the trees. Root Director root barrier systems were employed to prevent root swirl and divert roots downwards, thereby protecting paved surfaces from root heave and underground utilities from root damage. Each tree pit was also specified with a GreenBlue Urban RootRain ArborVent irrigation system, which integrates securely and discretely with the Castle tree grille and provides an efficient means of delivering water direct to the root zone of the tree.

BIRSE Civil Engineering was awarded the project as part of a four year partnering contract with the Council, and undertook the installation of the of the tree pit packages. The Council is very pleased with the renovation of this important street.