Town finds floral way to manage traffic

A market town dubbed ‘Yorkshire's food capital' by chef Antonio Carluccio is the latest location to combine beauty with road safety with help from civic planting specialists Plantscape.

Malton - former gold and silver gilt winner of the ever popular Yorkshire in Bloom - has been availing itself, summer and winter, of Plantscape's services for the past seven years.

And this year Plantscape has not only made the foodie destination look beautiful, it has also helped calm traffic in the town centre.

Every summer the town council, which set up a thriving In Bloom group three years ago, invests in around 135 hanging baskets, 26 barrier baskets, 25 window boxes and four three tier planters. In the winter it opts for 16 window boxes and six barrier baskets filled with herbs, bulbs, pansies, polyanthus, ivy, japonica and euonymus.

This year it decided the three tier planters could be used for more than attracting visitors, but could be positioned to improve road safety. And as they hold 400 litres of water when full they are nigh on impossible to move!

Town clerk Gail Cook explained: "We have had some road safety and traffic issues in the Market Place and we had the idea to use the three tier planters this summer to trial a new layout.The Market Place has limited marked pedestrian routes, and by using these we've created a natural walk way for pedestrians. This gives them right of way instead of vehicles.

"In previous years, the area where we placed them actually encouraged inconsiderate parking and a short cut for vehicles to race through the Market Place. By using the three tier planters in the new configuration we have cut off this short cut and stopped the issue."

In the autumn the council plans to buy some permanent planters to continue its traffic calming success and relocate the Plantscape pots to another location to ensure maximum visual impact.

Other destinations which have discovered the combined merits of aesthetics and traffic management include the Soho Road BID group in Birmingham and global information company IHS Market in Surrey.

Plantscape sales executive Alan Mc Gregor explained: "Customers who want to manage traffic tend to use our large floor standing planters such as our one metre square planters. When full of water and compost they weigh around 800 kilos. The plastic walls have a bit of flexibility so can absorb a car knocking into them without damaging the planter or car. They have forklift spaces at the bottom which allow easy movement by a pallet truck."

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