THE University of Worcester is planning to create the UK’s first purpose-built public orchard at its city centre campus. Worcester City Council planners unanimously approved an application by the university to create the orchard at the former Royal Infirmary site.
The scheme has been created for the university by landscape artists Sans Facon in collaboration with Becky Sobell and BCA Landscape, one of the country’s most innovative landscaping companies.
The plan also includes opening up a bricked-up archway under the railway viaduct to allow access to the Hive library and history centre from the university campus.
A statement in the planning application said: “The concept is to create the first purpose-built public orchard in the UK, turning it into a rich and productive bio-diverse landscape.
“Key to this new art landscape is the free production of fruit for anyone to take.
“In this way, the university orchard becomes a social space for this part of the city, part of the university but open and welcoming for a variety of users.”
The plan shows the area between the university buildings and Croft Road landscaped into a number of terraces separated by cast stone embankments.
Planted on the terraces will be 11 different types of fruit- or nut-bearing trees, including apple, pear, hazel and cherry.
“The creation of an art landscape of this scale and prominence in a city is rarer in Britain. One that provides a seasonal offering to its university students and citizens alike is rarer still,” said the statement.
University vice-chancellor Professor David Green said: “The university is wishing to landscape the un-developed portion of our city campus in a way which is attractive and inclusive.
“We are very pleased that the planning committee has agreed our proposal.”