We spent the day listening to a very impressive line-up of speakers at Somerset Wildlife Trust’s conference to discuss the future of Taunton in light of its new Garden Town status.
These included Professor Chris Baines, one of the UK’s leading environmental communicators whose experience ranges from greening deserts in the Middle East to advising on the sustainability of the London Olympic Village; from the regeneration of Bath to chairing the independent design review panel for the largest new housing development in the Thames Gateway. It was fascinating to hear his deeply knowledgeable assessment of the challenges facing Taunton and debate some solutions.
We also particularly enjoyed listening to Jo Gibbons, of J&L Gibbons Landscape Architects, who spoke eloquently on how we can all do our little bit to integrate green infrastructure into an urban environment. In addition, she underlined the need to ‘grow more horticulturists’ in the UK, and to elevate the status of this profession, particularly within planning and development projects: something we’ve often heard through our work with the Eden Project. With town planners, councillors and developers in the audience nodding in agreement, it felt very much that this message is at last gaining some mainstream traction: and we are certainly going to do our bit to ensure that the social, health and economic value of green infrastructure is as well understood and valued as its aesthetic contribution.
The after-event networking proved equally stimulating and valuable – not only for Seaxburh Partners, but for our client Taunton Canal Lift & Link, who left the event with a number of follow-up meetings in train that could help them to take the project to the next level.
Thanks to all involved in organising this excellent event, and for inviting us.