Town councillors have given their backing to a design project to improve the area around Newmarket’s clock tower.
In a report to members of the authority’s community services committee on Monday, chairman Cllr Philippa Winter said she had met with award winning designer Thomas Hoblyn and wanted approval for him to work on the project and come up with a design scheme.
Councillors agreed to spend £1,600 to commission the initial design for the project which will be presented to next month’s meeting of the full council.
“The planting areas currently surrounding the clock tower do not make a welcoming entrance to our historic High Street,” said the report. “The current planting scheme is edged and includes box hedging which is riddled with disease. The centre of the beds has very little planting and all the areas are covered with weeds making it very difficult to maintain.
“The outcome of the current scheme is that it is very hard to make the entrance to the High Street look presentable and something of which we can be proud.”
The proposals outlined as part of the new scheme, for which £10,000 has been allocated in the community services budget, include additional trees, shrubs, kerbing and lighting with planting designed to provide colour and impact.
The design would also be operationally efficient in terms of maintenance.
The design could also look at ‘softening’ the look of the controversial ‘balls roundabout’ but the report accepted that could be difficult.
Councillors also heard that a recent structural survey of the historic clock town showed it was structurally sound and only a small amount of work was needed to the roof to keep pigeons out.