Shame about the Saw Close.

Am l alone in being very disappointed by the recently ‘re-imagined’ Saw Close – an historic open space which lies just inside what was the old city wall.

As part of a recent redevelopment – that has seen the construction of a restaurant, casino and soon-to-open boutique hotel – the space between the old Palace Theatre facade and the Theatre Royal – on the other side – has been paved, stepped and now covered in troughs of plastic foliage.

Don’t bother looking for a central fountain,  specimen tree or piece of sculpture. This newly-imagined space comes complete with bike racks, benches, plastic box hedging and an outside seating area for a chain restaurant.

This was a golden opportunity – with either a small water feature or just a specimen tree – to create another atmospheric public space for people to gather.

Steps to the left have white edges and are also marked by troughs of plastic hedges! Bike racks and benches lie beyond.

But where Kingsmead Square and its central tree, cobblestones and cafe chairs has worked – the Saw Close is a mess.

kingsmead square
Kingsmead Square

Benches have been laid out like seats at a bus station. Bike racks occupy even more space in this so-called open area.

Another view of bike racks, troughs of plastic privet and those now white-edged steps. The area is covered in gull droppings too.

Steps were constructed that were so invisible and unsafe – as a potential trip or fall hazard – that the developers had to turn around and put handrails and white lines on the risers to make them usable.

Now – to crown it all – planters have arrived – full of plastic box hedging.

It may be low maintenance but it’s also a new low for a World Heritage city with a reputation for winning national competitions for its floral displays.

I thought this city was turning its back on plastic?!

Shame on you B&NES for not insisting on a higher-quality – and more imaginative – finish.

This is a missed opportunity to create a new focal point in a city famous for its Georgian iconic spaces.