Location: Southend, Essex
Southend Borough Council has worked hard to revive the town’s fortunes with skillful regeneration of civic amenities. The Plaza, the paved area adjacent to the rail terminus for trains arriving from London’s Liverpool Street Station, offered a once in a generation opportunity to elevate visitor’s first impressions of the town.
Implementation, in 2014, of green aspects of the project fell to Rick Milsom, the council’s arboricultural officer. Faced with the challenging legacy of stunted trees planted on ‘various old roads, pockets of what could be called soil and a concoction of who knows what’ as he says, the situation was further complicated by an ill-recorded assortment of underground service runs. So far, so familiar, – to all public realm engineering professionals.
For GreenBlue Urban (formerly Greenleaf Horticulture) this type of challenge has motivated their research and development for the past quarter of a century. Their revolutionary innovations in both sustainable and practical solutions to challenges faced in urban afforestation projects have become major factors in the successful greening of urban environments.
11 x GBU ArborSystem tree pits and the modular form of the GreenBlue Urban StrataCells gave scope for an irregular shaped matrix, maximising the root soil volume without disturbing the service runs. The future integrity of the service runs was also safeguarded by GBU ReRoot root barrier membranes and Load Bearing Geonet.
Rick Milsom recently commented that ‘after two years the new trees are doing well and have put on up to 600mm of new growth’. GBU was pleased that he also used their other products such as Ullswater tree guards, Brittany Bronze Precast Arboresin grilles, RootRain and Arborvent irrigation and aeration systems to produce a transformed public realm worthy of the reviving status of the town.
Development, production and delivery of innovative premium products are only part of the GBU story. Whatever challenges you may meet in the fast evolving urban landscape industry, GBU is anxious to hear about them. Sharing them through CPDs, site visits and specific consultations expedites the realisation of enlightened biophilic design – a word that seems to have been invented to express the GreenBlue Urban mission. To quote Rick again;
‘I found the team helpful throughout the project and didn’t worry about contacting them on quite a few occasions for advice. I would certainly recommend them.’