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Oxford City Council transforms street into wildflower meadow

A new outdoor space with wildflower meadows and lawns has opened on Broad Street, with the aim of pedestrianizing the whole street permanently in the coming months.

The new meadow was developed by landscape architects LDA Design, and the work was completed in four days by ODS, who maintain the city’s housing stock, parks and streets.

Broad Meadow is one of the city centre’s largest outdoor public spaces, and will host community and arts events over the summer, with plans being finalised in response to the government’s expected announcements about the regulations that will be in effect from 19 July.

Dafydd Warburton, director of LDA Design, said: ‘The design and delivery of this new space for Broad Street ready for the summer has been intense. All along the way, we’ve wanted to use recycled materials and local makers. Now we’re really looking forward to seeing people use and enjoy the space, and to find out more about how people see the street evolving over time.’

bird's eye photography of gray gothic building

The development of the new outdoor space included installing drop-down bollards, wooden seating and planters made from local recyclable materials, alongside re-positioning cycle racks.

Muralist Bryony Benge-Abbott was also commissioned to create a large floral artwork on the highway to continue the theme of introducing nature into Broad Street over the summer.

The final design was informed by discussions with technical experts and local stakeholders, as well as local businesses, cycling groups, and disabled people and representatives of disability groups through the City Council’s Inclusive Transport and Movement Forum.

The changes will not impact on the bus stops or the public car park in Broad Street, and access will be maintained to Market Street for deliveries to and from the Covered Market. A two-way cycle route will also be preserved throughout Broad Street.

The Council hope the new space will allow residents and visitors to meet friends and family throughout the summer, with public consultation to contribute to plans to pedestrianize the whole street permanently underway in the coming months.

Cllr Tom Hayes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Green Transport and Zero Carbon at Oxford City Council, said: ‘Broad Meadow will be a safe, welcoming, and green space for everyone to enjoy. Within a year we want to be in a position to give Broad Street back to the people and we need to hear from everyone about how Broad Meadow has met their needs. As a listening council, we want to extend our discussions with 60 local stakeholders out to the whole of the city of Oxford.’

Photo by Sidharth Bhatia

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