First mooted by the Society in 2010, work began in earnest – and was completed – in 2016.
Over several years, the Oriental Plane in the centre of the square had become very large, and despite judicious pruning by SDC, the tree had become too dense, making the whole area dark and unwelcoming. Residents in Mackeson Court had reported that the lack of light created by the tree had made the square a popular spot for anti-social behaviour, which needed to be addressed. The tree was also creating a serious health and safety issue as the roots were pushing up the paving slabs around the base and creating a trip hazard.
Following lengthy discussions with SDC and KCC, it was agreed that the Society should work with SDC to improve the appearance of the square, to provide a lighter, brighter, more welcoming entrance to the town. Funding was secured from the Sainsbury’s S106 monies and, in 2015, the Society organised two days of public consultation to ascertain the views of local residents: the results were positive and plans were agreed. Stephen Bailey Landscaping was the chosen contractor and he did a superb job.