The One Maidstone Business Improvement District is getting its hands dirty with its plan to convert the garden connected to its town centre office into a wildlife friendly haven. The area to the rear of the bus station, in Pads Hill, is currently the site of two large Oast House sculptures, shrubbery and lawn. The One Maidstone team will be planting up a mixture of hand raised and purchased plants to add colour and attract insects into this urban island.
BID Manager Ilsa Butler explains “This is a project that we can undertake in a Covid-secure manner, whilst still making an improvement to our town centre environment in times when the ability to organise events and projects is still limited. We hope that the changes will not only brighten up an area which sees a lot of passing traffic, public transport users and passersby, but will provide a space that town centre businesses can make use of for outdoor events, demonstrations, classes, or just some gardening therapy.”
The Pads Hill space belongs to Capital & Regional, owners of the Mall Maidstone shopping centre, who have given their kind permission for the works to go ahead.
General Manager of the Mall, Gavin Cockayne, says of the scheme, “This is a real opportunity to give something back to the community and the town centre we care so much about, whilst working in harmony with the bus station improvement work that is underway.
It is hoped that town centre businesses will enjoy getting involved with the project, either by getting stuck into some digging, or using the space for outdoor activities once it is completed. There will also be numerous opportunities for members of the public to get their wellies on, with volunteer planting days, and plant ‘amnesties’, whereby plant donations can be dropped off for inclusion in the space.
As well as a horticultural makeover with plants aimed at helping wildlife, the garden will include items such as insect hotels, including pieces handmade by One Maidstone staff member Nigel Downes, birdfeeders, new signage and the donation of a bespoke bee sculpture by Kent artist Richard Jeferies, who uses recycled cans to create beautiful recreations of nature from man-made materials. Richard was keen to get involved when he heard about the plan: “As an artist working in a wide variety of media, I am always looking for new ways to recycle old materials. Recently I have been using aluminium cans recovered from local beauty spots to create wildlife creatures. When I saw the proposed project by One Maidstone I immediately thought this would be an ideal environment for such a presentation. My bee will hopefully prompt people to think about how their rubbish is disposed, what we can do about it, and also highlight the need for and incredible part bees and insects play in our lives, and the life of our planet.”
The budget for the garden has been raised via advertising sales in One Maidstone’s town centre magazine, and will not be funded using BID levy contributions.
One Maidstone’s Marketing and Communications Manager Sarah-Jane Adams appeared on BBC Radio Kent to discuss the garden in February: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p095qqkf
If businesses or members of the public feel they can help get our garden blooming, by donating time, wildlife garden items, funding or plants, we’d love to hear from them at:
Please credit images to One Maidstone where possible. Further photographs available upon request.
Marketing and Communications Manager, Sarah-Jane Adams
E: email@example.com T: @sarahjaneadams
One Maidstone BID Manager, Ilsa Butler
E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: @ilsabutlerOM
Voted for by local businesses in October 2018, the Business Improvement District is funded by town centre traders, to serve town centre traders. Operated by One Maidstone, the BID helps improve the safety, cleanliness and appeal of the County Town’s busiest area for shopping, working and entertainment.