Townside Access and Hunger Hill

Public realm improvements 2019-2021

Updated 9th March 2021

The Project

A series of public realm improvements have been implemented in the area between Hunger Hill and Poole Bridge, including West Street and West Quay Road.

Works are part of a multi million pound Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (DLEP) funded infrastructure project, with the aim to revitalise the area and enhance connectivity to the town centre and the port of Poole.

The Townside project area has a long and rich history strongly influenced by its maritime location. This has formed the inspiration for both landscape proposals and artwork embedded within to aid sense of place and aid wayfinding.

The improvements will contribute to a healthier town in the face of climate change by increasing biodiversity through an extensive programme of planting, achieving urban cooling through tree planting, and the sustainable management of surface water.

Further, the improvements will enhance the health and well-being of users by providing opportunities for contact with nature, informal play, socialising and relaxation.

The landscape master plan contains a number of key features:

The Coastal Ribbon

Inspired by the landscape of Holes Bay, the ‘Coastal Ribbon’ consists of linear planting of grasses and maritime plants. This landscape treatment visually links Townside from north to south as it starts at Hunger Hill, emerges in pockets of green space along the road corridor, and ends within the Barber’s Pile open space near the Quay.

Hunger Hill Public Realm and Hunger Hill Green

This area acts as a major gateway marked by the ‘Nautical Rope’ sculpture by Michael Condron. The work is based on the form of a rope knot made from steel and illuminated internally by LED lighting. At dusk, it will captivate onlookers with light subtly creeping through gaps in multiple overlapping metal segments.

Reconfiguration of the highway layout completed in July 2019 created the opportunity to form a new accessible greenspace at Hunger Hill between Dear Hay Lane and North Street. This includes tree lined pedestrian and cycle routes, a rose and flower walk, a rain garden, and a large central green for informal play and events use.

Hunger Hill Landscape Plan (pdf, opens in a new window)

Hunger Hill Landscape Plan (pdf)

Entrance spaces to the Green are marked with bespoke walls and paving constructed from locally sourced Purbeck stone. This stone is used in its natural form throughout the landscape in varies sizes and finishes making a reference to the surrounding geology. Planting has been designed in layers incorporating bulbs, flowering plants, and grasses to provide seasonal interest and wildlife value.

The Old Burial Ground

The Old Burial Ground is the site of a former Georgian graveyard which was converted into public open space in 1948. At that time headstones were moved and a formal path layout introduced. In the 1960s part of the area was cleared for the construction of Hunger Hill roundabout and later the southern section developed for housing. Today, the Old Burial Ground is a little green gem amongst its urban surrounds. It is much valued by residents for its quiet and natural treed character and as a home for wildlife.

Landscaping seeks to retain and enhance these qualities, through:

  • strategic tree works, including replanting, to ensure a continued tree cover in the future
  • planting of naturalising spring bulbs as a source of nectar for invertebrates and installation of bat boxes
  • resurfacing of the perimeter path and the provision of a new stepped access point from West Street to aid circulation and indirect surveillance
  • renewal of seating and provision of way-finding
  • the assessment and restoration of the remaining head stones along the northern boundary; and
  • ornamental planting at the entrances to create a sense of welcome.
Old Burial Ground Landscape Plan (pdf, opens in a new window)

Old Burial Ground Landscape Plan (pdf)

Barbers Piles – ‘A Maritime Garden’

As part of the final phase of the Townside Access and Hunger Hill project, improvements will be carried out to Barbers Piles open space. Works will create a ‘Maritime Garden’ in celebration of Poole’s local heritage. New paths, entrances and seating provide a quiet amenity space for residents and a local destination for visitors.

Barbers Piles Landscape Plan (pdf)

Coastal planting has been carefully chosen for its wonderful texture, seasonal interest and suitability as a nectar source for invertebrates. Bat boxes will be installed to support the local bat population.

Selective pruning and removal of dead/declining trees this autumn has opened up views towards Poole’s Lifting Bridge, a key landmark to the south, whilst it was ensured that the mature wooded character of the site to the north is maintained to form a buffer to the adjacent housing.

At the southern entrance to the Garden is a paved square with bespoke seating to form a point for meeting and orientation.

A new ‘gateway sculpture’ by artist Michael Condron which features six stainless steel birds in flight, has been installed along the boundary to West Quay Road. This represents both the wildlife of Poole Harbour and local metalworking heritage through the ages.

Project details

Landscape Design: BCP Council Environment

Highway Engineer and Project Management: BCP Council Growth and Infrastructure

Construction: BCP Council Street Scene Services

Funding: Part of £9.6m funding for the Townside and Hunger Hill improvements scheme secured through the government’s Local Growth Fund 

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