No you are wrong they have placed a new top layer on in the past
few days that is upto the level of the cobbles there is no room to place another layer on
Please check, this is what they may well have told you
but the reality is black tarmac
Dont expect a reply until you have clarified on tuesday
Agree that at the moment it looks like a 'cheap job'. The black material is unevenly laid so that it matches or is slightly above the height of the stone work in places, but is about 2cm or more below it in others.
However my main disappointment with the scheme relates to the design 'concept', with the layout of pathways / materials forming no direct link with the church yard and gardens. There are 2 gates (o.k, only irregularly used) in the church wall, and one opposite into the park, yet the shapes of the hard surfaces and materials used bear no relation to these and appear utterly random, without any visual reference to the 2 sites either side. It's as if the landscape designer didn't even consider the linked history of the church and gardens at all. Opportunity missed IMO. If there's a coloured top surface to add maybe this will improve the overall look, as will additional planting. However, it's pity that this scheme appears generally poorly considered and executed as was the earlier cheap-looking restoration job on St. Georges itself.
boroughpaul fears it may become 'a camp for winos', and unfortunately there's existing and previous evidence for this possibility. Prior to the gardens being locked at dawn and dusk the place was a haunt for rough sleepers carousing the night away and drug dealers / users. Now, during the day there are a few nasty, noisy tramps who regularly sit at the main entrance to the gardens or under the plane tree and put people off using the place, and dealers are still to be spotted in the gardens and the alley by the library. It's probably a forlorn hope that they won't extend their influence into the adjacent area, and I'm just grateful that whoever had the daft idea that the railings to the gardens should be removed completely as part of the re-design didn't get their way!
Bankside Open Spaces Trust and their volunteers continue to do a good job looking after and transforming the gardens on limited resources and time, and deserve all the support locals can give.
I definitely agree that the tarmac looks horrible, and I am not so sure a resin-bonded stone layer will be any better. What a shame, could have been a very nice space. Why does 'pedestrianised' have to equal tarmac, paving stones and other hard materials? What about grass and more plants?
Yes, there is going to be grass and plants as well as trees. I know that spring bulbs are being talked about.
The example at the Trinity Street Piazza is quite a good one where a group of residents, myself and Richard the "guerilla gardener" all planted some plants including lavendar and rosemary in the tree beds as well as seeds for sunflowers. I'm not sure that Richard was quite used to having the formal support of the Council and Councillors for his plantings but I agree with the posts above that a hard landscape needs to be softened with grass and planting.
I have discussed the design with Jane (janefs) and confirmed that it's not a done deal in terms of where things like benches and sheffield cycle stands are going. Clare Armstrong of Living Streets also met with the Council Officers last Friday (I could not attend as we're in the Purdah period of the election) and made some good points which she fed back to me.
I think the Trinity Street Piazza is a good example of the "road closure into public space" agenda I've been pursuing and trying to fund via CGS and S106 and Trinity Street is now seeing a lot of use by local people. In fact we've now got lots of extra PlantLok cycle stands on order as it's clear that it attracts more cyclists than before.
I hope that once the Tabard Street scheme starts to take final shape that everyone will be happy that it's better than the unused (expect for the occasional parked 343) piece of street that divided the Church from the Churchyard/Park (and which we're now reuniting) that we used to have.
Father Ray Andrews of St George the Martyr has an idea for a sculpture for the new area which I support, and I welcomed the polish painted Easter Egg to give some life to the area during the works.