Tuesday, 13 April 2010

OOTS: A New Ride on the Merry Go Round


I've mentioned previously how awful I think Chippenham's roundabouts are, but never actually got round to showing any of them to you. As most of these mark a transition between countryside and urban areas, the standard approach seems to have been to throw together some trees and shrubs which just might be found nearby. This year a number of them have had a 'makeover': those that stand at the the entrance points to Chippenham have had a raised bed added over the past couple of weeks which are now filled with colourful Polyanthus with a Welcome to Chippenham plaque in the centre.

Yesterday the latest edition of the town council's newsletter Talk of the Town arrived which said under the heading Town Projects and Achievements:

As part of the town council's commitment to improving the quality of town life and its landscaped environment, residents will be pleased to see all the major routes into the town now benefit from enhanced florally decorated "Welcome to Chippenham" signs for its visitors and community, raising our profile as a major market town in Wiltshire.

Well, here's one resident who's feeling pretty ambivalent about them. On the one hand I've said how the town needs to do more to make people feel welcome, but this wasn't the solution I had in mind. I'd like something a little more co-ordinated rather than these 2 completely different styles thrust together, looking more 'plonked' than planned.

It would also be good if the overall scheme did more to reflect Chippenham's character or surroundings. Using species found in the locale is a start, but the above example shows there's more needed than that. I've found one example which uses a similar palette of plants, but in a more effective manner and echoing some of the features of the local landscape - more on this in a later post, once I've taken the photos to show you.

What do you think? Does your area have something better that we here in Chippenham can learn from? I've found a cracking example in Poole which I hope to photograph the next time we're there.

If you have a contribution for Out on the Streets this month, you'll find Mr Linky to add the link to your post here.

11 comments:

  1. Eeeeugh! Not great as a welcome is it? Bless 'em, they do try, and I would be the last person to put down a well meaning effort.There should be a but coming in the next sentence...there isn't.
    Do you think lack of a decent budget might be the factor here? There can't be much in the kitty for landscaping.

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  2. TS - that's just what makes me want to weep. Yes they do try and it could be so much better using the same budget. Have a look at the roundabout coming in to Chippenham from the motorway the next time (ignoring the new flower bed) and you'll see what I mean. It's this roundabout I'll be featuring next.

    And if anyone thinks I have a real downer on our Town Council, I do have some good news to impart re public planting which I gleaned from the same Talk of the Town newsletter I've featured in this post.

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  3. Oh dear, not looking all that good, does it? Such a shame.

    Here we have some spectacular hits and misses. Must take pics of both.

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  4. Well, they will receive the participation trophy if not the accolades of winning. We have been eyeing some spots around here to feature soon, waiting for the trees to leaf out a bit more first. As said before, I love this meme! :-)
    Frances

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  5. I forgot to say Hooray for Threadspider! Like to keep up the cheering section. :-)

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  6. Yes, not very inspiring. Interestingly, some of the roundabouts have names too - I'd lived here about ten years before I noticed that! It was my boys who pointed it out.

    And can you remember when there was old fashioned tramp who used to live in one of the roundabouts after he was kicked out of his 'home' on the by-pass.

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  7. To be honest I think that's quite standard for a lot of places...

    I've seen similar up here, I've also seen better too but not by much!

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  8. Nothing better here, I'm afraid. Our small and underplanted roundabouts are objects of terror to many of the citizenry. Some people I know actually go out of their way to avoid them whilst driving. My hubby lived in southern England and Wales for two years (and still has an English driver's license to prove it) so he loves flying around those things all the while muttering: "stupid Americans" (he is in acutuality a very patriotic guy, but generally speaking, Alaskans at least, can't figure out how to navigate roundabouts to save their life). Some drive straight over hegde, small tree, and rock, plowing right through the middle of the circle to get to the other side. Must be the stress....

    Christine in Alaska, land of a few roundabouts

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  9. Hello! I have just found your blog. Mainly because my interests on Blogger (apart from my Dog Blog - er don't even ask!) are Allotments, so when I saw your blog come up, I had to call over and investigate.

    What a surprise! I used to live in Chippenham, 26 years ago this month, we moved away to Scotland. So it was a real journey down memory lane to see your photos!

    At one time we lived in Calne, and before this, when first married we lived in Sherston. I used to work in Bath, up at the Uni.

    I will call in again for a "memory fix", and hope to read more. We have just been lucky enough to get an allotment, and are starting out on the long journey to self sufficiency.

    oh and the roundabouts were always awful! ;0D

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  10. on the positive side - it's better than the appalling M picked out in box but never maintained that McDonalds planted up when they sponsored a roundabout. That was plain criminal and made my blood pressure rise every time I went past it. In fact it's happening right now just remembering it....

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  11. Yolanda - oh do take some piccies please - I wanna see what you come up with!

    FG - looking forward to seeing your post. Had coffee with TS yesterday and she's most touched by your loud cheering for her :)

    Mark - I'd completely forgotten about that tramp! I do use the rbt names quite a bit when telling people how to get here...

    Liz - you're right - my moaning isn't really about Chippenham, it's roundabouts in general. It's just that by living here, Chippenham does get picked on rather. However, I will be showing an example with the same elements done rather better, so it can be done. And I have found some really good examples, it's just I've been driving when I've seen them :(

    Christine B - I love your last sentence. It conjures up visions of wild open spaces!

    Green Jeannie - welcome! Our time down here must have overlapped slightly as we moved down from the North East Feb/April 1984. You wouldn't recognise the place now, it's doubled in sized for starters!

    Lu - I'm showing you the same roundabout. The flower bed is where the M used to be...

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